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OSU football notebook: No love for the defense; Mike Gundy praises Calvin Barnett

Oklahoma State's Cooper Bassett understands why fans at Saturday's spring game cheered almost exclusively for the offense. But that doesn't mean it didn't bother him a little bit.
by Jason Kersey Published: April 21, 2012

Oklahoma State senior defensive lineman Cooper Bassett understands why fans at Saturday's spring game cheered almost exclusively for the offense.

But that doesn't mean it didn't bother him a little bit.

The crowd made noise and the band played for first downs and touchdowns, but made little noise for the defense.

“The game has evolved; it's an offensive game,” Bassett said. “It gets under our skin a little bit ... we wish they'd hoop and hollar when we stop a run. But it's not flashy and we understand that.

“But the nice thing about that is we've got one heck of an offensive team.”


Junior defensive tackle Calvin Barnett, the former Tulsa Washington star who transferred from Navarro Junior College, earned high praise from coach Mike Gundy in his postgame remarks.

“He's further ahead that just about any junior college player I can remember,” Gundy said. “He's making plays on the defensive line.”

While in high school, Barnett originally committed to OSU, but made a surprising switch to Arkansas two weeks before signing day.

Barnett never played for Arkansas, though. Instead, he played two years of junior college ball at Navarro.

“What I like about him is the attitude he brings to the game,” Gundy said. “When I was standing back there today, I heard him talking on third down — ‘Watch the draw,' ‘Watch this; watch that.' That's what real players do. We'll see if he's a real player ... but he acts like he wants to make plays and it's important to him.”


Gundy said OSU's defense has played fast during spring practice, and he wanted to see if that speed would be apparent during the spring game.

“They lived up to that,” Gundy said. “Just watching them throughout the 14 practices and then today, they can run and get to the ball really fast.

“The game has moved in that direction. You have to have speed to get to the ball fast and get those guys down. Everybody has fast guys that touch the ball now ... I feel like we've accomplished our goal that we set three or four years ago, which is to try to get enough speed to run people down on defense. I think we'll be so much faster this year than we've ever been.”


The very nature of a spring game — splitting your team in two — makes things difficult for the offensive linemen and the quarterbacks, Gundy said.

“When I looked out there on the gray team, the only (lineman) who was out there and had played at all was (Daniel) Koenig,” Gundy said. “Those other lineman have never played in a college game. ... Their play was very average and I expected it to be that way.

“Our defense is moving around a lot. We had four-down fronts; we had three-down fronts. We blitzed more in this game that we ever have because we think that fits our personality. The two spots that have a difficult time are our offensive line and quarterbacks.”

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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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