What You Need To Know About The Oklahoma State Defense
– To be very, very fair to last season’s Cowboy defense, everyone had to bomb away to try to keep up the pace/come back from getting crushed early on. The D wasn’t all that bad – also considering it played in the Big 12 – finishing fifth in the league allowing 409 yards and 29 points per game. Grade OSU on a curve.
Even so, in comes former Duke defensive coordinator Jim Knowles, and with him the 4-2-5 alignment. Last year’s OSU defense was great at getting into the backfield, and now the pressure has to keep coming with a loaded front six to work with.
– The ends might not receive a whole lot of national attention, but they’re terrific. Jordan Brailford is one of the Big 12’s best pass rushers, and Cole Walterscheid leads a deep group on the other side. Working around Trey Carter on the inside, the Cowboy line will be aggressive, tough, and very, very productive.
Chad Whitener might be gone from the linebacking corps, but Calvin Bundage and Justin Phillips are killers on the outside – when they’re used in that way. There might not be a true middle linebacker position, but there are options in case Knowles uses one.
– The secondary held up surprisingly well, but now there’s a little work to do. The corner situation is strong, with rising young stars Rodarius Williams and A.J. Green two aggressive playmakers who now have a year of starting experience. Losing Tre Flowers and Ramon Richards at safety is an issue – this is the defense’s green area. It’ll be a battle for jobs throughout fall camp.
Biggest Key To The Oklahoma State Defense
65%. That appears to be the completion percentage that’s the razor-thin difference between success or failure. When it comes to all of the shootouts the Cowboys play in, sometimes, just holding serve that one extra time makes all of the difference.
Last season, OSU was 10-0 when holding teams to under 65% completion rate, and 0-3 – TCU, Oklahoma and Kansas State – when allowing more.
Crazy right? A little but in 2016, the Cowboys lost three games – Central Michigan and Oklahoma connected on more than the mark, and Baylor barley missed, with Seth Russell completing 64% of his passes.