STILLWATER — After the Cotton Bowl, Cooper Bassett was secure and comfortable with his role in Oklahoma State's offense.
Less than a month later, he was in a completely different world. New side of the locker room, new meeting rooms, new place on the sideline, new existence.
When OSU hired Dana Holgorsen as its offensive coordinator in January, Bassett's tight end position on the offensive side of the ball was eliminated. So the Tuttle native switched to the defensive line.
"It is almost like you're playing for a different team," Bassett said of the early days after the switch. "You're on a different side of the locker room. When you go to a meeting, you're not meeting with the offense; you're meeting with the defense. When you're on the sidelines, you're not with the offense; you're with the defense."
His comfort level was erased and he had to start from square one even though he had been on campus for two years.
"It was almost like being a freshman again," Bassett said. "Even though I had been here for two years, I had just started playing defensive end for a couple weeks (before spring football began). I was like a rookie. But now that I have experience under my belt, I feel like one of the older guys."
Admittedly raw at the position despite playing it in high school, Bassett looked to veteran defensive ends like Richetti Jones and Jamie Blatnick to help smooth the transition.
"I was definitely pretty green when I came over from tight end," Bassett said. "Hopefully I am on my way to perfecting my trade so I can get out there and contribute on Saturdays."
Defensive coordinator Bill Young had glowing words for Bassett in the spring and the sophomore has continued to play well in the fall. Bassett could play his way into the rotation, especially with Blatnick's status still up in the air.
"He's going to be a solid player for us this year," Young said. "Anytime you're learning a new position it takes a while. On defense you have to react and he's thinking a little bit but he has the physical tools. We're proud to have him."
And now, after that rough beginning, Bassett has grown to prefer the defensive side of the football.
"It's a blast," Bassett said. "It's more fun chasing after somebody than blocking somebody. Everybody likes making plays. To be honest, when you're out blocking somebody people don't always notice you out there.
"It's a lot easier to get noticed when you're chasing the quarterback or tackling a running back. So, from a little bit of a selfish standpoint, it's more fun."