August 5, 2013

Calvin Barnett opens up on 2013, the OSU defense, and his aggressive style of play

You heard his name on the PA system all season last year after he blew up offenses in the backfield or chased down a quarterback for a sack.

He became an anchor on the defensive line and a force to be reckoned with at the defensive tackle position in 2012, and now Calvin Barnett has his sights set on 2013.

We sat down with Barnett to talk all things OSU defense at Oklahoma State Media Day, and he opened right up and told it like it was.

You have some holes to fill up front at the defensive end positions and James Castleman missing spring. What are your thoughts when you look around at the guys next to you?

"I think we should be alright. James is pretty much healthy now. They took care of him and sat him out like they needed to, and he did his rehab and did everything he needed to. Our incoming freshmen, our transfers and our defensive ends, everyone's been doing what they needed to. I'm the biggest critic of myself, so before I try to lead my team I'm gonna make sure I'm working hard every day and everyone just follow. People like Tyler Johnson, he's a natural leader as well. By being as mature as he is, he does things that leaders need to do. He speaks up when I don't on the defensive line, which is good because no one is going to be there every day, everyone's going to have to help out in that role. I feel like as a defensive lineman that's what needs to be done.

How has the transition from Bill Young to Glenn Spencer and new defensive line coach Joe Bob Clements been?

"The transition's been pretty cool, actually. I like the way they coach just like I liked the way Coach Young coached me. We had a very good relationship, he recruited me when I was young in junior high school, he was the first one from Oklahoma State to get in touch with me. Coach Clemens is just a hard-nosed, up-front coach. They're different, but I love the way he coaches me and holds us accountable as well. He literally coaches the person who thinks he's the best player on the D-line, to the worst. He doesn't care. I'm on all these watch lists but he's not gonna see me take a bad step and not correct it, he chews me just like he chews everyone else. Everyone's treated equally with him."

If there was one flaw in your game early, it was maybe being a little too aggressive. How do you address that and change it without losing your edge?

"I didn't change much. I didn't change anything last year after the Arizona game all the way up to the Purdue game when I got another personal foul. I just play hard. If you're a competitor, we have these certain things we do. Against Arizona is when I learned there are certain things I can't do. I talked to Coach Gundy about it and he said 'Yeah, I saw you play, that's how you play, but I'll let you learn," and I learned from it. The next game, then Kansas after that, every game I was just as aggressive. Maybe even more, I was playing with a chip on my shoulder because I remember everyone was looking at me from then on. I don't really change anything about it, though."

There are a lot of storylines coming into this year, whether it's being picked to win the Big 12 or other stuff, but there was a specific thing we wanted to ask you; Mississippi State the first week. So much is made of the Big 12 offenses against the SEC defenses. Do you feel disrespected that you aren't in that conversation?"

"Not really, everybody has their perception of what's gonna happen or what's gonna go on. They want to see certain parts of it. They want to see our offense, we have a really explosive offense. They're gonna see that regardless. The fact that our defense isn't being spoke of, I feel some type of way about it, but it's nothing to be mad about it. There's no reason to. At the end of the day, we're gonna come out and play hard, and we're gonna try to get turnovers, and we're going to meet the goals on our goal board. We're gonna come out and try to win the game."

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