Last season, Caleb Lavey emerged as a key contributor for Oklahoma State's underrated defense, tying for third-most on the team with 74 tackles.
Now, only a junior, Lavey figures to be one of the centerpieces of what football coach Mike Gundy called the best linebacking crew he's ever seen at OSU.
Lavey sat down and answered a few questions about the Cowboys' historic 2011 season:
Take me back to last year. Is everything that happened still sort of surreal?
“Oh yeah, now that we are in the offseason, we realize that we still need to work and it's not just going to happen again, but it was a great opportunity.”
Is it almost a hangover effect because of everything that happened last year?
“Yeah, it all went by so fast. Where'd the offseason go? We are already back in spring ball. But I want to do it again and we are going to work at it.”
What was the best part of last season?
“Well, the Fiesta Bowl was a lot of fun, but the Big 12 championship (Bedlam) was probably my favorite game. Storming the field, my family was there, I saw my brother down on the field, that was just an awesome experience.”
How about the locker room scene after the Fiesta Bowl?
“That was crazy. As soon as the game ended, the party began. Everybody was just having so much fun. It was unreal. I've never felt anything like that, I was just so happy afterward.”
It was like a mini-photoshoot with the Fiesta Bowl trophy. Did you get your turn?
“Oh, I took tons of pictures with the trophy, took a bunch of pictures with the seniors. It was a crazy scene.”
Despite all the key games and successful moments, the midnight Tulsa game had to be one of the stranger moments.
“Yeah, that was wild. We were all on the bus ready to go home, pads off and already eating and everything. Then they told us to suit up and go out there in 15 minutes. Everybody was like, ‘What?' That was just a crazy game. I think we set a few records with that game. A 12:20 kickoff or something like that. I think I speak for everybody on the team saying that was definitely the weirdest game.”
How about you personally? Solid season last year, but what do you have to improve on for 2012?
“I need to step up my leadership. We lost Brandon (Weeden), we lost Jamie (Blatnick), we lost a lot of big guys. We still need to work because it's not handed to us, and we need that leadership. On the field, I need to work on my efficiency and athleticism as a linebacker.”