April 19, 2010

Defense springs eternal: Young looks back

When you've been around the block as many times as Bill Young has, the end of another spring practice just means another practice time has gone by - and it's time to look ahead to the next time he can get his crew out there knocking helmets.

That doesn't mean he didn't get into the spring game a tad.

"I didn't want them to score any points," he said with a laugh.

But seriously, Young said the spring game, wacky scoring and all, was good for his side of the ball.

"You know, when we get back in there we'll get back in there and look at the tape and kind of get an idea of how we played," Young said. "We'll see some breakdowns and see some issues we need to get cleaned up. But the biggest thing, and it sounds stupid, but just getting out of the game healthy is a huge thing for us. We are out there and played so many players and defensively every guy that was out there got a ton of reps, so that was a real positive for us."

As far as the spring practices overall, Young said several players had very nice contributions.

"In the secondary, Markelle Martin had a heck of a spring," Young said. "At linebacker, Orie Lemon has been really tough. Justin Gent had a great spring, just getting better and better. Line-wise, Ugo Chinasa and Jamie Blatnick are a couple of guys who really played well. Brodrick Brown is just getting better and better. I could go on and on and on. We really have got a strong unit and I don't think anybody is just a superstar, but we've got a bunch of guys that really care about each other and play hard together."

Overall, the second-year OSU DC is happy with what he saw.

"I think we had a nice spring, I really do," he said. "We had some goals, we didn't reach them all, but we're on our way. We had a lot of shoes to fill and we've got some younger players in there. We're doing well."

This three-week span was the first chance his unit got to go up against the new offense being installed by offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen. In the past, playing a Texas Tech or Houston has given OSU fits, but now the Cowboy defense gets to practice against it, which Young sees as a huge bonus for this season and beyond.

"I'll tell you, that's going to make us better and better in the secondary," Young said. "There's a give-and-take playing against an offense like ours. You're not as physically playing the run but you get so much better playing the pass and tackling in the open field. If you don't you're going to get scorched.

"It'll help us play against the teams that throw the football and play particular things like the fire screen and different things like that. It'll help us tackle in the open field - there's a bunch of positives from it, there really are. It puts a lot of pressure on the defensive team, it stretches you vertically and horizontally."

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