STILLWATER — Mike Gundy's announcement sent out via news release Thursday afternoon that defensive coordinator Bill Young would not return to Oklahoma State in 2013 was brief.
“We are appreciative of everything Coach Young has done for us over the past four years,” Gundy said, “but we are also excited about heading in a new direction with our defense.”
A new direction with a familiar face in co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Glenn Spencer, who was promoted to Young's old post.
And in Spencer, the Cowboys get — well, keep — a respected assistant who brings continuity and an ace recruiter in the Southeast, particularly in his home state of Georgia.
Spencer has not been a full-blown defensive coordinator since 1997, when he held that job at West Georgia for one season before being elevated to head coach.
But after working his way up the assistant ranks at the Division I level at Georgia Tech (running backs/defensive line) and Duke (assistant head coach/recruiting coordinator/defensive backs), Spencer landed at OSU in 2008. By 2011, he had been promoted to co-defensive coordinator.
Under Spencer, don't expect a dramatic change in the Cowboys' defensive style. Creating turnovers, something OSU consistently did under Young until this past season, will likely still be the main focus.
But do expect the cushion the Cowboy cornerbacks gave opposing receivers to catch the ball to shrink. That's something Gundy was openly frustrated about following the regular season.
With Spencer, OSU maintains its valuable recruiting ties to talent-rich Georgia. Cowboys from the state on the 2012 roster include defensive ends Nigel Nicholas and Ryan Robinson, linebacker Demarcus Sherod, fullback David Paulsen and wide receiver C.J. Curry.
Commitments from the 2013 class from Georgia include Curry's younger brother, Darius, a three-star defensive back. Additionally, four-star defensive end Naim Mustafaa made a late switch from Georgia to OSU last week. In a news release announcing Mustafaa had enrolled for the spring semester, Spencer was quoted.
Spencer got a taste of being the defensive coordinator early in the 2012 season, when Young missed the first two games while recovering from a medical procedure that removed an aneurysm from between his eyes.
The Cowboys expectedly throttled Savannah State 84-0, but struggled on defense in a 59-38 loss at Arizona. But it's probably unfair to judge Spencer based solely on that performance. Those were emergency circumstances, though Young was still partly involved in game preparation. And in that game, the Cowboys were down a coach.
Now, Spencer gets his real shot to direct a Big 12 defense.