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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
IRVING, Texas -- Oklahoma State is considered to have one of the nation's most prolific offenses.
But the Cowboys' hopes of being able to challenge for their first Big 12 South Division title and first BCS bowl berth will hinge on the development of a defense that struggled last season.
Veteran Bill Young returned to his alma mater to try to help stabilize a unit that allowed opponents an average of 44 points per game in the final four games last season. The Cowboys ranked 93rd nationally in total defense, 107th in sacks and 109th in pass defense.
OSU coach Mike Gundy can see a difference in his defense's attitude working with Young.
"He came in with a lot of experience and maturity," Gundy said. "I know a lot of our players were excited about his attitude and his the way he approached our team. The confidence that he exemplifies when he talks to the players and and the way he carries himself in the staff room amongst the coaches has been very good for me."
The addition of Young has also helped the confidence of the Cowboys, too.
One of the major reasons for his quick popularity was the simplicity that he approached in installing his defense.
"He didn't change the terminology," OSU linebacker Andre Sexton said. "He stayed with our scheme to make it easier for the guys who have been in the system for a couple of years. Now, we don't have to think as much."
Young is well known in the Big 12 for his transformation of the Kansas defense, where he helped lead the Jayhawks to the Orange Bowl in the 2007 season. He earlier served as defensive coordinator at a variety of major programs, including Ohio State, Oklahoma, USC Trojans and most recently, Miami.
"I know sitting in the staff room, there at times can be a lot of egos involved in coaching," Gundy said. "But he certainly doesn't have one. I think that's really been a plus for our program."