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Oklahoma football: Gabe Lynn's comfortable with move to nickelback

Gabe Lynn has changed during his tenure at Oklahoma from one of the state's most feared defensive backs at Jenks to a key cog in the Sooners' defense as the fifth defensive back.
by Jason Kersey Published: August 27, 2012

“There are so many one-back teams, you're not gonna get a lot of two-back teams (and need) three linebackers out there,” said linebackers coach Tim Kish. “We understand that. People are spreading you out, and what that leads to is having to bring in a fifth DB.”

All three losses last season were a result of poor defensive performances, but a home loss to Texas Tech, the Sooners' first of the year, is still haunting to the then-sophomore Lynn, who was playing in place of injured senior Jamell Fleming.

On one three-play sequence, which came on the Red Raiders' first drive of the second half, he gave up a 40-yard pass, was called for a personal foul and then was responsible for a touchdown pass that put OU down 31-7.

Tech coach Tommy Tuberville admitted at July's Big 12 Media Days that his squad bullied Lynn because of his inexperience.

Lynn said fixing the mistakes that plagued him that October night is all about focusing on assignments — especially when tired.

“When you're tired, that's when your technique gets out of the way,” Lynn said. “Tech was running that no-huddle, so it was fast. You've just got to slow your head down, and you'll be in good shape.”

Coaches told Lynn during winter workouts that they wanted to move him to nickel, and he said he was always fine with the move — “Any way I can get on the field, that's what I want to do,” he said.

“He just seems like he's real active,” Kish said. “He's strong enough and thick enough that he can help us in the run game, and yet he can run well enough to stay with the skill guys. He's really fit that role pretty well.”

Coaches and teammates have universally praised Lynn for the progress he's made in his new role and for his continued confidence despite being constantly linked just with that Texas Tech loss.

But Lynn said he knows he'll have to continue answering for that night until he makes good on a second opportunity.

That opportunity comes Saturday in West Texas.

“That's the last game I really played in, so until I get past that, that's what it is,” Lynn said.