GBI Magazine

Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 6

Gold and Black is a multi-platform media company that covers Purdue athletics like no one else.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 41 of 91

H ere he was last fall, not only being thrown in against a top-10 team, but one as big and phys- ical as the Wisconsin Badgers. The then-fresh- man linebacker thought he was ready, but he wasn't ready. And he took the punishment for it. Starting in place of injured senior T.J. McCollum at inside line- backer, Derrick Barnes was on the field for Wisconsin's first possession, which lasted all of three plays, the final snap resulting in a 67-yard touchdown straight up the middle. Barnes was benched shortly thereafter. "That week, when T.J. was hurt, Coach looked at me and said, 'It's your turn,'" said Barnes, now a 6-foot-1, 240-pound sophomore. "The whole week, I was watching film and learning things about Wisconsin's offense. But when my time came, it was a struggle. The speed of the game was pretty fast. I just had a lot to learn. "We like to call it getting thrown in the fire." He got burned. But it's a lesson Barnes carried with him into the off- season. He started another game, getting a second shot two weeks later vs. Nebraska, and finished the season with 16 tackles, including a half for a loss. He made an impact on special teams, too, particularly on the kickoff coverage unit. But nothing can replace the defensive experience, both the good and bad. He's glad for it, and so is Purdue, considering co-defensive coordinator Nick Holt inserted Barnes at middle linebacker with the first-team unit on Day 1 of spring ball. Barnes has a big role to fill, replacing the drafted Ja'Whaun Bentley, a starter most of the last four seasons. Barnes could still be pushed by fellow sophomore Cor- nel Jones, but right now he has the edge. One reason is his motivation. "Derrick wants to be good, and he wants to work hard," junior linebacker Markus Bailey said. "That's the first step right there. It's harder with certain guys that maybe don't have that drive and don't listen and respond to coaching as well. They don't want to prepare as much, but he does and that makes it easier on me. It makes me want him in there, as opposed to some other guys. I can trust him. He listens to what I'm saying, and he trusts what I'm saying. I think I've helped him to look at different cues and stuff that have helped me in the past. "With his brute size, strength and speed, there's still Redo Barnes ready for second opportunity Tom Campbell Derrick Barnes was "thrown into the fire" vs. Wisconsin, and took a bit of a beating because of it. But the sophomore middle linebacker thinks he's better for the experience. GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 6 42

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of GBI Magazine - Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 6