STILLWATER â€” Bill Young had it good.
He was the defensive coordinator for a team that had not only gone to but also won its first BCS bowl, that had lost only one game and that returned nine of its 11 defensive starters. His work was being lauded, and his future was looking bright.
But he got the heck out of Dodge.
Well, actually, it was Lawrence, but Young left Kansas all the same.
He dodged a bullet because of it.
After one season at Miami, Young landed at Oklahoma State where he is helping oversee one of the best seasons in school history. The Cowboys sit atop the Big 12 South and No. 10 in the BCS standings. They are on the verge of the program's first 10-win regular season. They are one of the biggest stories in college football this year.
The Jayhawks are in shambles. In the three years since that BCS bowl, they have had a player-treatment scandal and a head-coach firing, and this season, they've won only three games and languish at the bottom of the Big 12 North.
â€œI really haven't spent much time thinking about them,â€ Young said matter-of-factly, not maliciously. â€œ(The focus has) always been who we're playing the next game.
â€œNow, it is them.â€
Young is too much of a gentleman to say it, but it's easy to see that he prefers being on this side of Saturday's matchup.
OSU, remember, is his alma mater. Coaching the Cowboys was always a dream of his. It's why he chose to leave Miami. It's why he picked Payne County over South Beach.
A season like this has validated his choice.
He's assembled a defense that has continued to improve. He's crafted a scheme that plays to individual strengths. He's built a unit that is helping the Cowboys win ballgames.
â€œHe keeps it simple,â€ Cowboy defensive end Richetti Jones said. â€œHe doesn't make things complicated. He doesn't make it hard.â€
Young makes it work.
â€œWhen you see your players go out there and execute the things we're asking them to do as coaches,â€ he said, â€œit's very gratifying.â€