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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
STILLWATER, Okla. -- Veteran defensive coordinator Bill Young has brought an attitude change to Oklahoma State that seems to mesh well with his group's veteran players.
His old-school mentality and gentler approach stand in contrast to the high-intensity, frenetic attitude that former defensive coordinator Tim Beckman employed with the unit last season.
"Coach Young brings in this laid-back mentality where the players can play more freely and not be worried about making mistakes and getting yanked off the field," Oklahoma State senior linebacker Andre Sexton said. "He comes and coaches us in a nicer way than the previous coach did. I think the players have been adjusting to that well."
Sexton said that Beckman's attitude caused Oklahoma State defenders to play tentatively at times because they were worried about his reaction to the mistakes. He said Beckman's attitude was like that of a pit bull when he was coaching.
"It's kind of hard to get comfortable in game situations when you are worried too much about making mistakes and not able to play in a natural rhythm," Sexton said. "Coach Young does that to us. That's something that we as players need because everybody adjusts to different things."
Beckman has moved on to the head-coaching job at Toledo. But experience gained under Beckman, as well as the gentler coaxing from Young, should have the Cowboys better prepared this season.
Oklahoma State's defense wore down late last season, allowing an average of nearly 585 yards per game in late-season losses to Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oregon that dropped them to 9-4. The Cowboys started the season 8-1.
"Last year, we had a lot of success early in those big games, but as the season went on, I don't know if we're quite ready to tackle the rest of them," Sexton said. "This year, with that experience we gained and what we've learned going through it along with Coach Young, I think we'll be better prepared."