Oklahoma State players are making some adjustments this spring as new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles installs his scheme.
Safety Kenneth Edison-McGruder said Oklahoma State’s new defense is “not similar at all” to what it was running before, according to The Oklahoman’s Scott Wright. The Cowboys are switching to a base 4-2-5 alignment, which is why Edison-McGruder switched positions from linebacker to safety.
The scheme change should also make understanding assignments and responsibilities less complicated, linebacker Justin Phillips said.
“He is going to give us opportunities to fly around and make plays for ourselves,” Phillips said of Knowles. “So he’s going to make it simple for us, for everybody on the defense to know what they have to do and make their responsibilities easy for them. He’s going to let us go out there and play.”
Oklahoma State hired Knowles from Duke after firing former defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer in January. The Cowboys ranked No. 79 nationally in total defense last year and No. 85 in scoring defense last year under Spencer. Conversely, Knowles’ defense at Duke was No. 21 in points allowed in 2017.
The goal for the Cowboys seems to be simplifying things so players can play with the same speed utilized by the Oklahoma State offense and the other Air Raid teams in the Big 12.
“The defense allows everyone to roll around and be aggressive,” Edison-McGruder said.
Fans will get their first look at the new defense at the Oklahoma State spring game on April 28.