STILLWATER, Okla. —
“It’s changing daily,” Barnard said. “We’re figuring things out as we go. Obviously, we’ve talked to a lot of people and done a lot of research on how to run this defense. But as we get out on the field, we’re figuring out how to make it ours and how to match our kids and do the things that they can do.”
Running around like crazy, blitzing from all over and just generally confusing the offense may sound like fun, but it isn’t exactly easy.
“It’s more challenging, but it’s a lot more fun,” Citizen said. “Us linebackers are up to the challenge. ... We worked a little, watching film and everything, and it just kind of came smoothly to us. We had a little trouble with it, but we picked it up really quick. There’s just certain gaps we have to fill and coach (Trent) Worley coached us up real well and we’re pretty sound on it right now.”
Filling those gaps will be a bigger issue this season with fewer linemen. One missed assignment could easily turn into a monster play in a hurry. Yet, even with the pressure on the linebackers to be nearly perfect each play, Barnard said he’s been pleased with the way they’ve handled that pressure.
“They’re definitely still making mistakes,” Barnard said. “There’s no doubt that they’re making mistakes. They’re not always filling the gaps they need to fill, they’re not always getting the call communicated in the correct way. There’s lots of issues that are occurring, but that’s why we’re so fortunate to have spring football. It gives us a chance to work on those things.”
As the first week of spring practice wound down Friday, there’s no doubt Stillwater’s linebacking corp still has some kinks to work out — especially among the seemingly dozens of fresh faced freshman that are getting their first taste of Pioneer football.