LARAMIE, Wyoming — After 44 years of coaching, Bill Young had seen it all.
"Coach Cain got me up at 3:45 this morning to come to work," Young, Wyoming's new defensive quality control coach, said. "That's the first time I've done that in my coaching career, and I've only been coaching 44 years."
When you're joining a team with four games remaining and only five days to prepare a struggling defense for one of the best offenses in the country, there's little time to waste.
Young, who has been the defensive coordinator at seven Division I programs, has the task of overseeing a defense that allowed 103 points in its last two games, and guiding first-time defensive coordinator Jamar Cain.
After coaching against him for six seasons at Missouri, Christensen knew Young was the man for the job.
"They were always very sound defensively," Christensen said of Young's Kansas defense, which Christensen's Missouri team played from 2002-07 in the Big 12.
"We won some and we lost some, but they were always tough to move the football on. I have always just had great respect for him. He's coached at a lot of places and been successful.
"I was excited that he was interested in coming on board at this point in time, and allowing me to continue to spend my time in the offensive room. I wanted to have somebody with the same type of knowledge of defense in there for those guys, so this has worked out very well."
Young, who last served as Oklahoma State's defensive coordinator from 2009 to 2012, didn't hesitate to make a decision.
"This is getting my foot back in the door a little bit, and getting back in the game, and watching film and being around football," Young told the Casper Star-Tribune (http://bit.ly/1hmv1cL). "So I'm very excited about it. It didn't take me a heartbeat to say yes."
Young and Christensen share a mutual respect, born from years of staring across the field at each other during one of the country's oldest and most bitter rivalries.
And after his Jayhawks went 3-3 against Christensen's Tigers during his time at Kansas, Young, too, is ready to see Christensen in a new light.
"It's a lot of fun to be on his side," Young said, laughing. "I'd rather be on his side than against him, because he's a tremendous football coach."
Since Wyoming already has a full defensive staff, Young will not be allowed to communicate directly with the players.
Instead, he'll work solely with the coaching staff, breaking down game film and helping to develop a game plan in Wyoming's final four games of the season.
Of course, that starts with a match up against quarterback Derek Carr and No. 17 Fresno State, followed by a road test against 6-3 Boise State.
Young, for one, is looking forward to it.
"It's going to be a lot of fun. I haven't had the chance to coach against Boise. I have coached against Fresno State several times. They are a tremendous program," Young said. "I'll be more in a spectator role, but I'm going to enjoy it a lot."
And Cain, heading into his first game as Wyoming's interim defensive coordinator, is as excited about the hire as anybody.
"I have no ego. So if people tell me something, it's fine. We all have to get better," Cain said. "I told him that. 'If I'm doing something wrong, you're not going to hurt my feelings at all. So tell me.'
"I refuse to fail. I want as much input as I possibly can get."
Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com