The Oklahoma State defense wasn't the focus of Saturday's spring finale.
With the loss of offensive stars Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon, all eyes were on the quarterbacks and receivers.
But the Cowboy defense will definitely be worth watching next fall. It is as talented and deep as it has been in years. Starting defensive end Cooper Bassett talked about that — and yes, even about the Cowboys' quarterback race — after Saturday's scrimmage.
What do you make of all this talk about the defense's increased depth and speed?
I don't add to that speed. (Laughs) But I will agree. The problem that we've had defensively in the past is depth. And this year, you look, especially in the front seven, we're so deep. Just like (Saturday), the Orange team had technically the No. 2 defense, but the defensive line, you've got Christian Littlehead and Nigel Nicholas, both who've been starters. Davidell Collins, great experience. You've got Ty Johnson over there, who's a great player, too. We've got a lot of speed, a lot of depth, and it's going to be fun with our defense this year.
Defensive linemen had four pass breakups during the scrimmage. Is batting down passes at the line something you all talk about?
If we can get in the backfield and get our hands up and let our presence be known, then we're really going to impact things even if we're not getting the quarterback to the ground. Something we preach is getting back there, getting your hands up when the quarterback's hands come off the ball.
Has it become more of an emphasis?
We do preach it. Whenever we're in the film room, Coach (Bill) Young's constantly saying, “Get your hands up, get your hands up, pressure the quarterback.” Whenever we're on the field, it's “Get your hands up, get your hands up.” We know if we can get an incomplete pass, shoot, we don't have to run downfield and chase after a wide receiver. (Laughs.)
So, really, this is all about not wanting to run?
It benefits us not running as much as it does stopping the offense. That's a little extra added incentive.
Everyone is talking about who the starting quarterback is going to be. Are you tired of the talk?
Not too often as a defensive player is the first thing you're asked by everyone is something about a quarterback. I'm not necessarily sick of it. We've got three guys who are competing their butts off, and all three of them are great players. I'm looking forward to one of them stepping up and really solidifying the quarterback position.
What are the strangest place you've been asked about the quarterbacks?
I was in line at Old Navy. I was buying some T-shirts, and someone was like, “So, you know, how's practice going?” I said, “Oh, it's going good.” They're like, “So, who's going to be quarterback?” I said, “Are you serious right now? I play defensive end. I don't know. It's like a different team. Your guess is as good as mine.”