September 8, 2008

Beckman expects more of defense

Even though Oklahoma State picked up victory No. 2 on the young season over the weekend, it's not all lollipops and rainbows for the Cowboys.

After a rough start, the offense got it going in the second half. However, that rough start put the defense in a bad position, as they felt the weight of three first-half turnovers which added stress to a unit still trying to better itself.

The defensive performance wasn't bad per se, but it did allow 483 yards of offense and 37 points. And those aren't numbers that Tim Beckman wants to see in a game.

"I always want to win, no question about it," Beckman said. "But to me, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. I know that's a cliché but I want to play good on defense all the time. That's the way I am. I don't think we got that accomplished the way that I expect us to be."

Overall, the defense wasn't as bad as it has been in the past. One plus is that the Pokes held UH to only 96 yards rushing. But two problems were stopping receivers after receptions on short- to mid-range comeback passes down the middle and containing quarterback Case Keenum on scrambles. Aside from his 387 yards passing and four touchdowns, he rushed for 81 yards on nine carries. That was definitely the biggest problem in Beckman's mind.

"He did a great job of making plays," he said. "You watch him on film last week and previously and he does. He'll scramble around and find a receiver. I thought our kids stayed in coverage well and then when he scrambled around he hit on runs that he hadn't really done much with, so that's a credit to him and that's a credit to the Houston staff. Offensively I thought they had a good game plan with the four receivers to one side."

Keenum's running ability had the defense making adjustments to try and stop him. One thing the Pokes tried was spying him, but to no avail.

"We tried that and ended up a couple times he scrambled on us," Beckman said.

The loss of Lucien Antoine forced the defensive staff to adjust their plans when it came to defending the Cougars. He pointed to a package the team uses with three down linemen and how it was limited because of Antoine's absence.

"Well I think anytime you lose a good player like that it usually affects us," he said. "But we're going to have to step up and the next guy in line, T.J. Bell, Johnny Thomas, you've got to step in line and play now. That's all part of college football and if somebody gets dinged and hurt then the next guy has got to step up and replace him."

But maybe this game was a silver lining. Most years, it's tough to take anything away from a non-conference game, because a lot of times the competition isn't on par with what OSU will see in the Big 12. But the Cougars are one of the better mid-major programs out there, which means the coaching staff will have a lot to take away from game tape. Beckman says he feels his unit is making strides but…

"I still think we've got a ways to go," he said. "If you look at the first half and the pass rush problems that we had and we've got to step up when the field is short and keep them out of the end zone, maybe kick field goals.

"Everybody in this conference has a spread offense or a good quarterback and this young man we played tonight is a good quarterback and I think that it was the first that we had and we've got to get better to make sure that we're playing good on defense."

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