From The Coordinators: Bill Young

As you might imagine the video of Oklahoma State's Big 12-clinching win over Oklahoma did not get much of a critical viewing. Offensive line coach Joe Wickline likely went over it in detail and graded out all of his guys, but down the hall defensive coordinator Bill Young said his focus quickly turned to Fiesta Bowl opponent Stanford.

"We have been more concerned about Stanford than we were with (celebrating) the OU (win)," Young said speaking Monday during the Cowboys Fiesta Bowl media day and sounding like the veteran coach that he is.

"It was a wonderful game and a nice win. It's something big for our program. We have some issues about not being in the national championship game, but (Stanford has) the same issues."

The good thing for the players was that while the coaches hit the road recruiting and started the process of preparing for Stanford, the players had time to prepare for final exams. There was a full week off without lifting, and then during finals week the lifting and conditioning resumed prior to last Friday's first bowl game practice.

After three practices for the Fiesta Bowl, Young can tell that the time off helped his players.

"We're using that time to heal up and get our legs back," Young said. "We're so much quicker than we were before we got that week off. It's so nice to have that week off. The time off really freshens our players."

It will come in particularly handy with the style of offense that Stanford brings to the table. Yes, the Cardinal has two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up Andrew Luck, but don't confuse Luck with Case Keenum, and don't think that Stanford looks like Houston. The only similarity is both wear a shade of red.

"We just haven't had the reps against this kind of offense. We've been seeing four wides and basketball on grass-type stuff and all of a sudden it is smash mouth football, so we have a lot of work in front of us," Young said.

"We hope it is a good matchup, but we definitely have a lot of work in front of us to get there. The run fits and all of that is going to be a huge factor in this ball game."

Remembering that Young preaches stop the run first and that the Cowboys did a nice job on the OU running game, and that veteran defensive ends Richetti Jones and Jaime Blatnick love to stop the run, that should give Young some comfort.

Taking away from that comfort is the fact that head coach Mike Gundy announced Monday that defensive tackle Christian Littlehead will sit out the Fiesta Bowl after a citation for misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. Still, the Cowboys defense should be hungry to stop Stanford and play some smash mouth.

"I think you are right (that our players like to stop the run), but I don't think they've seen this exact offense," Young said. "The fullback is 6-4 and 240 pounds and it is so physical. They don't mind making three yards. To a lot of people three yards is not enough, but for them they are satisfied with that."

Keep them at three yards a snap and I think the Cowboys coaches, players and fans will be satisfied.


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