STILLWATER — Bill Young doesn't have DISH, so the options for catching his Cowboys on the road at Arizona were limited back home in Stillwater.
“I listened to it on the radio,” said Oklahoma State's defensive coordinator, who missed his second straight game following an undisclosed health procedure.
“I was sitting there chewing on my fingernails, just like a lot of other great OSU fans.”
That's not all Young shared with Oklahoma State fans Saturday night. He shared the tension and the anger and, at times, the disgust, too.
“We just made too many mistakes,” Young said. “We beat ourselves. And when you say that, you certainly don't want to take anything away from Arizona. They beat us, there's no question.
“But we had all those penalties. And we had some missed tackles. We got out-gapped a bit. There's plenty of blame to go around.”
Young is back on the job full time, preparing for Saturday's game against Louisiana-Lafayette. He's working to fix what ails an OSU defense that once was fingered as the strength of this team, yet now stands in a very familiar position of drawing a barrage of criticism.
In the loss to the Wildcats, the Cowboys surrendered 59 points (although seven came against the offense), 501 yards and 32 first downs. When it mattered most, with the Wildcats threatening deep in OSU territory, Arizona went 8-for-8 in the red zone, converting five trips into touchdowns.
Young has already pored over the game three times, watching it once himself Sunday morning, grading it in a second viewing a bit later, then taking it all in one more time with the entire defensive staff.
“I've seen a lot of it,” Young said.
Now, the focus is on fixing what's wrong.
“In a very positive way as coaches, we pointed out what we did wrong,” Young said. “What we need to do right. And everything's correctable.”
Young credited Arizona quarterback Matt Scott, who accounted for 375 yards of total offense and three touchdowns. Young, too, said it was a different Scott than they'd seen the week before in the Wildcats' overtime win over Toledo.
“(Against Toledo), he had men running wide open and he overthrew them. Or underthrew them,” Young said. “Against us, he was right on target.”
Still, the penalties and the missed tackles and the assignment busts must be accounted for.
“I definitely feel like our defense didn't play up to our potential,” said linebacker Alex Elkins.
Elkins and others said the fixes should be easy.
“It is, but it isn't,” Young said. “You only get those 12 opportunities. And we let one slip through our hands.”
For Young, this season has been reduced to 10 guaranteed opportunities. Although he continued to meet with the defensive linemen and his staff all last week, these have been the only two games he's missed in 44 years as a player or coach.
“I hope it's the last time,” he said. “That ain't bad. But it's two too many.”
Young declined to discuss the specifics of his procedure.
“I feel great,” he said. “I had no symptoms going into this procedure; I have no symptoms coming out. I'm no different today than I was three weeks ago. I have some tremendous doctors.
“I'm anxious to get back.”
Now it's time for him to do some doctoring to his defense, although he dismisses any notion that things would have gone differently had he been there on the sideline at Arizona.
“Obviously, it wouldn't have been any different if I'd been there,” Young said. “But it would have been easier on me if I had been there.”
Easier on the players, too.
“Me as a defensive lineman, as much as I care about coach Young personally, it meant a lot,” said Cooper Bassett. “And it hurt not having him there. We missed him. You can't help but miss a guy like that.
“But at the end of the day, we as players are the ones executing on the field. And we didn't get the job done, whether coach Young was there or wasn't. We didn't get it done.”
And Young didn't have any fun.
Unlike with many OSU fans, there were no nachos and beer flowing at the Young residence. Just a lot of anxiety, with the game blaring throughout the house on his surround sound system.
He said there was a moment where he considered calling around to the restaurants to see who had DISH, before relying on the Dave Hunziker, John Holcomb and Robert Allen to set the scene on via radio.
“The ups and downs … it's a lot easier being in the game than going through that,” Young said. “You kind of know what the calls are. You can visualize what's taking place. Still, you don't know if it was a zone blitz or a man blitz or this or that. You're kind of in the dark a bit, even though they did a great job trying to describe the game.
“There's not much you can do. I'm just like the other fans at that point in time. You can just hope for the best.”
Bassett said he can only imagine the scene.
“I can't envision him being very happy,” Bassett said. “I know it hurt him a whole bunch. Coach Young doesn't have any kids, we're his kids. And it makes you hurt a little bit more, because it means so much to him and we mean so much to him, to let him down like that hurts more.
“I'm sure there were a few choice words said. I'm sure Coach Young was coaching from his chair. Unfortunately, we couldn't hear him.”