Stillwater News Press

Sports

August 15, 2012

3 p.m. Sports Minute

STILLWATER, Okla. — One of the reasons Mike Gundy has been expecting a lot of great things from his defense this year has to do with the core in the heart of the Oklahoma State defense.

The Cowboys return all three starting linebackers from a year ago — Shaun Lewis, Alex Elkins and Caleb Lavey — and according to linebackers coach Glenn Spencer, the depth is equally impressive.

"There are a lot of twos who are getting reps with the ones now. I'm trying to mix and match to make sure that I'm seeing everybody against the best competition that they can go against in fall camp so I can get a better evaluation of who's getting better and who's playing better against better competition at times," Spencer said.

"I'm rotating those ones and twos and the threes are even getting some reps up top, so it goes back to having a lot of guys that can play and trying to develop as much depth as I can, knowing that during the course of a season, that's going to pay off big dividends."

As for his returning starters, Spencer said he has seen improvement from their play a year ago.

"They're making strides. Shaun Lewis is being more instinctive than I've ever seen him. He has a great knack for anticipating," Spencer said. "There's a fine line between anticipation and guessing and he pushes the limit there and it allows him to make big plays. He's done that this camp.

"Caleb Lavey is quicker. He has a great aptitude for the scheme and for getting to the spot where he needs to be and getting there quick and making up for when somebody else might lose their assignment. ... Alex is developing great, just like I thought he would. It's just a continual process with him. ... Every day, I see the light come on for him for different things. It's a process, but none of them have arrived."

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