“No one wants to be looked at in that kind of way,” Barnett said. “To be honest, I was just playing. But of course, I learned that I couldn't do that on this level. I just changed it.”
Gundy feels he “failed” Barnett, in a way, because he initially didn't identify Barnett as a player who could potentially lose his composure and address the issue with him sooner. New defensive line coach Joe Bob Clements did have an early discussion with Barnett about personal fouls and now is confident Barnett will no longer allow aggressive play to turn into reckless play.
“It's easy for me to try to turn you down,” Clements said. “But don't make me be the type of guy that has to turn you up.”
Since last season ended, Barnett has worked on improving his 6-2, 300-pound body, cutting out red meat and fruit punch and making sure he's better conditioned for the fourth quarter of Big 12 games. And he's tried to set an example by consistently going to class or giving top-notch effort in practice.
“I just try to do my job,” Barnett said. “At the end of the day, if I don't do my job, then I can't try to be a leader in any way.”
Barnett doesn't look at 2012 as a standout individual season and is ready to have an even bigger impact as a senior. Gundy believes Barnett has the potential to develop into an NFL defensive tackle.
And Clements, who most recently coached Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year Meshak Williams at Kansas State, has even higher expectations.
“The next step for Calvin is establishing himself as the best defensive lineman in the Big 12,” he said. “Now he's going to be in the boat with everybody, and he needs to go out there and prove on a week-in and week-out basis that he's a dominant defensive player.”