Spencer has already said part of the fun of coaching is building back after losing veteran "anchor-type" players. Listening to him talk at today's Oklahoma State Cotton Bowl defensive press conference you would think the other way after hearing what he says about Shaun Lewis.
"Shaun is a guy who has started since his freshman year," Spencer said of the player that goes into Friday's game with 245 career tackles, 190 of them unassisted. "What has allowed Shaun to play as a freshman and be a mainstay for us, all-conference performer, is unbelievable focus and attention to how he approaches this game.
"He approaches it like a professional week in and week out, the amount of film study he puts in. I always tell these guys, especially at that linebacker position, there's a fine line between anticipating and guessing. And Shaun lives on the edge there. That's why he can make such big dynamic plays for us over the years because up here between his ears he's a champ."
Lewis has been a ball hawker with eight interceptions, seven fumbles caused, and seven fumbles recovered in his career. Lewis has enjoyed the journey he's been on.
"For me it's been a lot of ups and downs. We came, as a team, so close a few times but then we captured the Big 12 title my sophomore year, my junior year we went through a bit of a struggle, but this year has been everything you could ask for," Lewis said.
"It is even deeper than that when you think about the relationships that you develop with teammates and coaches over the years. I wouldn't trade any experience I have had the past four years for anything else in the world."
Lewis has played in some great venues including Reliant Stadium in Houston and the Alamodome in both high school and college. He also played at University of Phoenix Stadium in the 2012 Fiesta Bowl. But he is pretty excited about playing in AT&T Stadium, especially after watching the NFL game between Dallas and Philly on Sunday night.
"It was crazy, so surreal for me. I haven't been in a stadium like that. I have been in some pretty nice stadiums but that is one of the best, if not the best stadium in the country from all levels of athletics. It was a nice experience for me and I am blessed with the opportunity to play in the stadium on Friday," Lewis said.
Lewis doesn't have to do anything special for Friday to be a winning performance for him. He is one of those players that if he plays like normal then that is special and that is winning football.