Bill Young: It's Good To Play A&M At Home

Bill Young is a little too familiar with College Station, Texas. "I've been there three straight years. I went there with Kansas, Miami and now here," the Oklahoma State defensive coordinator said. "So we're excited to have them in our place this year playing in front of a home crowd. It will be a lot better."

While Young might finally be able to coach his defense against Texas A&M on his home turf, the potency of the Aggies' offense might curb a bit of the enthusiasm.

Texas A&M rivals OSU in its offensive balance, ranking 27th nationally in rushing and 14th in passing. The Aggies are also 18th in points per game at 41 per outing.

Meanwhile, OSU is currently last in the Big 12 in scoring defense and 84th nationally, giving up 27.7 points per game.

Senior quarterback Jerrod Johnson leads an experienced Aggie offense that finished fifth nationally in total offense in 2009.

Johnson went 53-of-78 for 671 yards with six touchdowns and no picks through the Aggies' first two games this season but he struggled mightily against Florida International last Saturday in a 27-20 Aggie victory.

Johnson went 11-for-31 through the air for 194 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions.

Even though Johnson is coming off a sub-standard performance, Young said they need to focus on containing the explosive senior.

"He's very athletic and you really have to keep him in the pocket," Young said. "If he gets out on the edges or up the middle then he can really cause some havoc.

"A&M is one of the top offensive teams of the country and they have almost all of their skill players back. So we expect to go against a stellar offense."

Young said he is pleased the team has a bye week to prepare for the nation's 12th-ranked offense for a number of reasons. ?

"It gives us an extra couple of days to prepare for A&M, which we need. It also allows us to rest some of the players who are banged up and bruised and also get some players back who have been on the injured list."

Getting players back from injury, particularly on the defensive line could pay huge dividends for the Cowboys as they prepare to start Big 12 play on Thursday night. The Cowboys should have defensive tackle Shane Jarka back from the injury he suffered in the season opener against Washington State, bringing the Cowboy defensive front back to full strength.

Young said even though injuries are never a good thing, he has been excited by how his younger players have responded in extended duty, though they are far from a finished product on defense.

"We have all kinds of things to work on to be honest with you but, at the same time, we're starting to build a little bit of depth," he said. "We're able to play, particularly on the d-line, Ugo Chinasa and Darius Hart at the left end and we have Richetti Jones and Jamie Blatnick (at right end).

"The defensive tackle area is where we've kinda been beat up. Shane Jarka's been hurt and Chris Donaldson's been injured but, while they were gone, we've been able to let a lot of the younger guys play, which has to help them."

Even though the defense has struggled at times through three weeks, the Cowboys have forced nine turnovers and Young said he is excited to see how good the defense can be as it continues to grow and mature.

"We're getting better. We've got a long way to go but we do feel that we're improving and we need to stay healthy, which has been a big factor for us. Good things are ahead for us.

"(Our defense is) awfully competitive; we really like the way they go out and work and the attitude that they take to the practice field. You really can't help but improve going about it the way they do."

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