Cowboy Football: Bill Young Talks Defense

In lieu of a daily practice report with Oklahoma State curtailing media access from now until the first Mike Gundy news conference on Monday, Aug. 31, we are substituting question and answer sessions and other features. Here is a fresh (as of Wednesday) interview with defensive coordinator Bill Young.

GP: At this stage is the defense where you want it to be or have you thought about it in that regard?
BY: We're getting better, but we're not where we want to be. We're much better than what we were. We're getting better and we are working hard. The kids have a tremendous attitude and we've stayed healthy. We feel good about where we are, but we want to be better.

GP: What is helping the defense right now. Is it what is ahead of them with the Georgia game? Is it that you've kept the defense more simple where they can react? What is it?
BY: I think they are getting a millions reps and because of that it is getting easier. Muscle memory -- they know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. Those kind of issues and that is a positive thing. We've got some issues that we will get to but right now they are really doing a nice job and there are very few mental errors.

GP: Along those lines, Markelle Martin told me a message that the safeties have is that you are going to make mistakes. It happens, but keep the mistakes smaller, don't make the big mistakes. Minimize the mistakes.
BY: Exactly, one mistake can get you beat, so we can't have any if possible.

GP: So many days has head coach Mike Gundy come in and said the defense won today, that the defense was better. Is that a focus to win the practice?
BY: Yes, without question. We want to compete every time we step on the field regardless of who we are going against. It has been a very good camp and we've got our nose smashed in several times and it just makes you better.

GP: How does this compare to your first preseason camp at Kansas?
BY: Our first camp at Kansas, we are so much more talented than that group back then. I don't want to be negative but we were not real talented. I remember our first spring there another coach and I looked at each other and said, 'What have we gotten ourselves into?'

GP: You have a lot of seniors and I know you found leaders in the spring but have you had any players pick it up in camp that have become, maybe, newfound leaders.
BY: I think all of our linebackers, they are veteran players and have been there and done that. They are really doing a good job. We have several returning starters and we feel like all of those guys are doing that and are leading.

GP: How about the depth on your defense?
BY: The big thing for us is not getting anybody hurt. We feel real good about our two-deep. Once you lose one them then it falls on that one individual and then he is getting tired because he is getting too many reps. We just have to stay as healthy as we possibly can.

GP: Are you happy with the defensive line?
BY: Obviously, we'd like them to be much better but I feel like we're improving and they are working extremely hard. They are doing everything we are asking of them and we will continue to improve as we keep moving on.

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