"I think we're going to be a lot more sound than we were a year ago," said the veteran Coach that cut his teeth playing defensive end at Oklahoma State in the mid to late 60's. "I think our players know more about what they are doing. We have some young guys that were in the system and we feel good about them, particularly the first unit. The second unit, we are getting better everyday."
That said the Cowboys will still start two completely newcomers in junior college transfer and weakside linebacker Alex Elkins and red-shirt freshman defensive tackle Christian Littlehead.
"It'll by an eye opener for those freshman, Chris Littlehead and those guys that have never been in a ball game (college) before," Young said. "No question about it. We have some concerns but we think they will handle it. The good thing is they have gone against a great offense all spring and all fall. We aren't going to see too many teams better than our offense."
Opening opponent Louisiana-Lafayette has a completely new coaching staff headed up by former Mississippi State passing game coordinator Mark Hudspeth. Hudspeth narrowed out the Cowboys associate head coach, special teams coordinator, and safeties coach Joe DeForest for the job. Mike Gundy said he has heard the Ragin Cajuns run before and after every practice and they will be in shape.
"We struggled early in the game last year, so we know we are in for a fight," Young said. "You know you always want to look good and play well."
As for studying Hudspeth and his offensive coordinator Jay Johnson, a former quarterbacks coach at Central Michigan and offensive coordinator at Southern Miss, the Cowboys have stockpiled the video.
"We've been all over the place. Mississippi State, Central Michigan, Northern Alabama, Southern Miss, anywhere they've been we've looked at their tapes," Young added.
Then even if the Cowboys had completely solved the mystery of what kind of offense they were going to see there is still the issue of what flavor the Cajuns will serve up on offense as they have two distinct personalities based on the quarterback playing. Baline Gautier is a 6-0, 212, junior that can really run the ball and has plenty of experience. Chris Masson is a 6-2, 203 pound senior that has even more experience and can really throw the ball.
"One guy is a real athletic quarterback and one is more of a dropback passer," Young echoed when asked about the Cajuns head coach saying he may not name a starter until game time. "The good thing is we have prepared for everything and our offense has given us a lot of the stuff that they run."
Defensive end Jamie Blatnick had the real solution.
"We've looked at everything and we've seen a lot of offenses in our careers. We just need to go out and see what they are doing and then stop it."
Sometimes it really is that simple.