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Oklahoma State football: Defense coaches trying to compensate for Bill Young's absence

While Young is sidelined, Glenn Spencer and other defensive assistants are preparing for a quick, powerful Arizona offense
By Gina Mizell Published: September 3, 2012

And during the Savannah State game, instead of purely looking ahead to the next play and making adjustments and corrections with the linebackers, Spencer's thought process focused on making the defensive calls from the coaches' box and communicating with Jones and Malone on the sideline.

Spencer now knows those calls will need to come in even faster against Arizona's up-tempo spread offense. That made Saturday's game vs. Savannah State a valuable learning experience.

“Savannah was a slower team,” Spencer said. “Now, all of a sudden, Arizona's not. They're on the ball, just like us. The communication on my end's going to have to be a lot faster tempo-wise in the box to the field than it was Saturday.”

Even with those changes, players said they didn't notice much difference.

“Coach Spencer led us perfectly,” linebacker Caleb Lavey said. “It was like nothing had really changed. He took control and it was just like any other game, really.”

Added defensive end Nigel Nicholas: “It really felt like Coach Young was still there (with) how good (Spencer) was.”

Spencer still talked to Young on the phone every day last week. First, to check in and tell him he was missed. Then, to bounce ideas around like they normally would at the office.

Spencer plans to continue those conversations on a daily basis this week, as well, and looks forward to Young returning in time to be back on the sideline when the Cowboys face Louisiana-Lafayette on Sept. 15.

Until then, Spencer believes the way Young has led the defensive staff has prepared those coaches to overcome his absence and face a powerful Wildcat offense on Saturday.

“Yes, we miss him out on the field,” Spencer said. “We miss his leadership, and we can't wait until next week. But in the meantime, it's our job to take care of business just like we would if he was here.”