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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Oklahoma State D-coordinator Bill Young eager for return to KU’s Memorial Stadium

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— Oklahoma State’s surprising rise to Big 12 championship contender has a common thread with a similar run by Kansas three seasons ago: defensive coordinator Bill Young.

Young was a part of Mark Mangino’s staff when the Jayhawks won the Orange Bowl in 2007, the school’s first trip to a BCS bowl.

Now, he’s trying to engineer that type of run by the 12th-ranked Cowboys (9-1, 5-1 Big 12), who play at Kansas (3-7, 1-5) on Saturday. Oklahoma State has never won the Big 12 South title, but leads the division by one game with two to play. With a win in the Big 12 title game, OSU would reach a BCS bowl for the first time.

“That’s our goal, no question about it, and we control our destiny,” Young said. “We’ve just got to keep winning.”

The Jayhawks had six straight losing seasons when Young was brought in on Mangino’s new staff in 2002. The program broke through with a bowl appearance in 2005 and just missed out during a .500 season in 2006, then capped a surprising 12-1 run the following year with a victory against Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl.

Oklahoma State’s run isn’t nearly as unexpected following back-to-back nine-win seasons, but the Cowboys were supposed to be rebuilding after losing starting quarterback Zac Robinson, NFL first-round draft picks Russell Okung and Dez Bryant and nine defensive starters.

“I think there’s a lot of parallels with that last season, but I think our program’s a little farther along than they were,” Young said. “From a recruiting standpoint, I know when I was at Kansas, I’d come to Oklahoma, and the only people I could recruit were the people that Oklahoma State didn’t want.”

Young’s six years at Kansas helped compel coach Mike Gundy to pursue him when he was looking for a defensive coordinator after Tim Beckman was hired away to be Toledo’s new head coach in December 2008.

In his first year, Young took a defense that hadn’t finished better than 75th in the nation in scoring defense or yardage allowed in any of Gundy’s first four seasons and turned it into the 31st-ranked unit in both categories. The numbers haven’t been as impressive this year, except that Oklahoma State ranks fifth in the nation with 27 takeaways.

That’s the same formula that worked when Kansas forced 35 takeaways and led the nation in turnover margin in 2007.

“I loved it up there. It’s a great place to live, great people, and our football program was really down when we got there, and when I left it was about as high as it’s ever been,” Young said. “It’ll be fun going back.”

Comments

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 9 years, 3 months ago

Young was the one assistant coach I really hated to see leave. I was really hoping HCTG would have tried to keep him.

Jim Pendleton 9 years, 3 months ago

Young was already gone. He left Mangino's staff and went to Miami for a year before going to OSU. Coach Gill would have had to pry Young away from his alma mater, had he been interested in hiring him.

I agree we should have put more effort into keeping him after the Orange Bowl season, but Mangino was the one who needed to make that happen.

Michael Lindsey 9 years, 3 months ago

His defense had one great year, the Orange Bowl year. Everyone forgets the year before when they lost several games in the last minute in which just winning one more would have made KU bowl eligible, having gone 6-6 but received no invite. Most galling was the 2nd half against OSU; having led at halftime, got blown out in the 2nd half.

JBurtin 9 years, 3 months ago

Yes, but you obviously have forgotten about his defenses in 2004 and 2005 that blew up runs in the backfield and constantly pressured the QB.

2006 was just a young year. It happens to every coach, everywhere. (e.g. Texas 2010)

lance1jhawk 9 years, 3 months ago

It was a sad day when Bill Young packed up and left. Mangino should have been fired for letting him go to the "U".

JBurtin 9 years, 3 months ago

Quote of the day: "“I think there’s a lot of parallels with that last season, but I think our program’s a little farther along than they were,” Young said. “From a recruiting standpoint, I know when I was at Kansas, I’d come to Oklahoma, and the only people I could recruit were the people that Oklahoma State didn’t want.” - Bill Young

I wish people would remember this when looking at our first real recruiting class under HCTG. Just because the guy believes in Jesus doesn't mean he can walk on water.

Dirk Medema 9 years, 3 months ago

That's why Coach Gill will be better than Mangino, etc. He isn't just going after UT/OU/OSU/... misses. He's recruiting nationally.

esque 9 years, 3 months ago

There was also some speculation that Young could no longer tolerate working for Mangino as there was a great deal of turnover on his staff throughout his tenure for the same reason.

Most of those departed coaches refused to say it officially but the anonymous comments coming from former assistants served to paint a fuller picture of the atmosphere surrounding the program during the Mangino years. When you factor in the abusive treatment of the dept secretaries, parking monitors etc, the decision to move on becomes much easier to understand.

Sadly, many of the posters here are far too willing to overlook all these factors as they lament his departure on a daily basis.

JayhawkBigXII 9 years, 3 months ago

Meh... all hear-say & water under the Orange Bowl Bridge.

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