April 14, 2010
Defending his turf: Young talks D
While all of the talk this offseason has focused mainly on the Oklahoma State offense, Bill Young's defensive reclamation project enters its second year.
The OSU alum is challenged with keeping up the momentum from 2009, when major strides on that side of the ball helped the Cowboys make a run to the Cotton Bowl.
But with the departures of some battle-tested and experienced players, Young's challenge is to bring new parts into his machine and keep everything running smoothly.
And, while we can only go off what we're told since practices this spring have been closed, it sounds like a case of so far, so good, for Young and Co.
"We're excited about where we are," he said. "Obviously, we wish we still had about two more weeks, or three, you know you never get enough time to practice. But at the same time, we've shown some signs of making some progress."
One of those newer parts, Brodrick Brown, is looking like he didn't leave his game in Arlington.
"Oh I tell you what, he just picked up right where he left off in the bowl game," Young said. "He has really, really played well. We're excited about the way he's played. He's not very big, but he's very, very physical for a guy his size."
As for another young guy - defensive tackle Anthony Rogers - it's all about time and waiting things out.
"He's a young freshman and he just needs reps," Young said. "He's improving and getting stronger and we've just got to be patient with him at this point."
The defensive tackle position is one that appears to have three solid players in the top four, with one spot sort of out there for grabs - although Young said he has an idea who that fourth will be.
"Defensive tackle, we've got Shane Jarka, Chris Donaldson and Nigel Nicholas - they can play against anybody and be successful. But that fourth guy, we've got to find that guy and right now we've got Cooper Bassett - we've moved him in there and he's really shown some signs that he can play."
In short, Young says Bassett "has really stepped it up."
"We moved him to end from tight end to end, which is a big adjustment," Young said. "Then we moved him to tackle, which is even a bigger adjustment. And he's a very unselfish young guy - we're proud of the way he's performing right now."
Young says two positions over all others concern him most.
"I think we're more concerned about the star and tackle position - I know I am," he said. "I think when it's all said and done, with the new guys coming in, we'll be pretty solid in the secondary - maybe the strength of the football team in the secondary with Victor Johnson and some of those guys coming off the injured list."
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