Young Makes Return To Lawrence

Bill Young has lived this season before. He knows the feeling of being a defensive coordinator for a team nobody expected anything from that instead went on an improbable journey to a BCS bowl. While this fits the current path of his Oklahoma State Cowboys, he did it first in Lawrence, Kan., in 2007.

Young's Jayhawks broke numerous streaks and rewrote the school history books en route to a 12-1 record and an Orange Bowl victory against Virginia Tech.

When the No. 10 Cowboys (9-1, 5-1 Big 12) head to Kansas on Saturday, Young will be in entering familiar territory in more than one way.

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

One common element Young said he has seen between the 2007 Jayhawks and the 2010 Cowboys is the chemistry each team had.

"(Chemistry) is huge from the standpoint that you've got everybody out there loading the wagon and pulling the same direction; that's what it's all about," Young said. "If you've got your own agendas it makes for a terrible time, the atmosphere it awful and nobody's feeling good about anything.

"There's a lot of trust and a lot of good feelings about each other right now."

And Young knows a thing or two about chemistry having started his coaching career in 1968, which makes what he saw happen at KU and what he's experiencing this season in Stillwater all the more enjoyable.

"It's certainly unusual (to see a team develop this level of chemistry), I've been blessed to be around a lot of programs that had good chemistry, but it's something as coaches you work hard to have and I think coach (Mike) Gundy has done a great job at fostering it."

And Young's defensive unit is a shining example of how strong the team's bond is. The defense was blistered early in the season by critics for its tendencies to miss tackles and give up big plays through the air. Meanwhile, the Dana Holgorsen-led offense has reached near rock star status. But week-by-week, Young's unit has improved at a steady rate and is playing its best football at the right time of the year to be doing it.

"I don't think there's any question there's great chemistry on this football team," he said. "I don't think there's any jealousy (of the the attention paid to the offense) or anything like that, not among coaches and certainly not among players."

And that chemistry could come into play at Kansas. The KU team Young will find in Lawrence looks a lot different than it did when he left the Sunflower State following the Orange Bowl victory. Kansas is in last place in the Big 12 North at 1-5 in conference play and 3-7 overall.

With Bedlam looming in the season finale a week later, Kansas, historically speaking, could set up as a trap game. Young doesn't think that will be even a remote possibility.

"Oh no, our players have done a great job of staying focused," Young said. "I'm sure coach Gundy and all the other coaches will get them focused for this one too."

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