September 17, 2009

Young Mistakes: DC looks back at UH game

While he didn't say it, just by looking at Bill Young's face one could see how hard he took the loss to Houston.

After the success of the Georgia game - where his players were unquestionably the heroes of the day - the slicing and dicing of the Oklahoma State defense by the Cougars brought down the mood on that side of the ball, bringing back a lot of questions the unit had to face in past seasons.

In the wake of UH putting up 512 yards of total offense (366 through the air), it would seem that the effort against the Bulldogs (257 total yards, 10 points) was a bit of a mirage, at worst. At best, it just showed that the Cowboy defense stands a much better chance against more traditional offensive sets. That doesn't really bode well for the Pokes going forward, as the Big 12 is littered with high-tech spread looks.

No matter the case, Young said he knows the unit must improve.

"We made a lot of mistakes and obviously if we had known why we were going to make them we could have corrected them, but we had a great week of work and our players understood the game plan very well," Young said. "The speed of the game was so much quicker than what we had been used to with the scout team and so forth, but we just didn't play well."

And with the offense MIA for another first half, the defense could only do so much. They had solid moments, earning key three-and-outs and the like, but Cougar quarterback Case Keenum made easy work of the Pokes, seemingly always finding the open receiver. He effectively burned the D with his passing choices, going 32-of-46 for 366 yards and three touchdowns.

"We didn't contain the quarterback," Young said. "We didn't pressure the quarterback enough with the four-man rush, we ended up blitzing a little bit more than probably what we wanted to and it ending up not working out.

"We couldn't get off some blocks on the perimeter - I mean, there's all kinds of reasons that we didn't have success, on the other side of that, I think you have to give them credit. They did an exceptional job. They had a great game plan and really didn't do anything we hadn't seen, but they actually did awfully well."

In the pre-season, the Houston game was one in which Young knew his unit would be challenged, but he said they all felt confident going up against this type of unit.

"A lot of things they did were similar to what our offense does," he said. "So we had been working against it all two-a-days. That's why we felt a little more comfort zone going into the game, but obviously it didn't work out and they did a great job with the tunnel screens and getting us on the edges a couple of times with those kind of plays."

Now it's back to the drawing board for Young, as he tries to get his defense regrouped to tackle the Rice Owls this weekend in Stillwater.

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