“When you don't have to think so much on the field, you can just give great effort. That's what you want to be able to do as a defense.”
Spencer cautions to not get the wrong idea. His players do think, and he prefers them smart and savvy.
He suggests that some players benefit from their experience in the system. And any player can help himself on Saturday by putting in the mental work during the week.
“They've got to think and they've got assignments they've got to do first,” Spencer said. “With Shaun and a lot of guys, they've played a lot of football and they know their job, so they don't have to think as much as they did as sophomores.
“You have to have some complexity to stop some of these offenses. I wish it wasn't like that. I wish we could just sit there in our base defense and play from that all day long. But we can't.”
What they can do, however, is make it all seem and feel less complex.
“There's a fine line between putting too much in, to where they do think and the slow down, and in not having enough,” Spencer said. “If we can get them on Saturday to not think as much and have enough schematically to defend what you're seeing, that's what you're hitting at.”
Against Mississippi State, after months of preaching and promising an improved and more aggressive defense, the Cowboys hit their mark.
And people were talking about the defense.
And talking good.
“It was really nice to have everyone actually talking about the defense for a while,” said OSU tackle James Castleman.
It's about time, according to Lewis.
“I've been here for four years, this is a great feeling,” Lewis said. “This is what I came to this school to do. And I'm glad we have an opportunity to do it this season.”