Oklahoma State football: Bill Young to the rescue?

It's not as simple as that, although the Cowboys are sure glad to have their defensive coordinator back in the saddle
by John Helsley Published: September 10, 2012

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.

Continue reading this story on the...

by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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