Looking back at the spring, what are your general feelings about progress made?
Bynes: This spring was a lot of new. It was basically trying to get used to the coaches as well as the coaches getting used to us, and to get affiliated with the plays. Of course it's not going to be perfect and not everything is going to go the same. As the spring went on, you could see a difference.
At the beginning everybody was just flying around like a chicken with its head cut off. At the end it became more competitive. Somebody was going to win, somebody was going to lose, and that's it. There were no tie games. Either the offense moved it down our throats or we would take it back and get quarterback sacks and interceptions. We became more competitive than any time since I've been here. We became hungry. We were ready for the next play. We were like, ‘Let's go out here and make plays instead of it being just another practice.' We were taking it more seriously.
Have you worked out with Eltoro (Freeman) in the weight room?
Bynes: Oh yeah.
Is he a freak?
Bynes: It's just natural to him. He looks like an animal. I don't know where he gets all that strength from. He's just incredibly strong. He's the strongest linebacker, him and (Spencer) Pybus. Don't let Pybus fool you.
Pybus is only about 210 or 215 though, right?
Bynes: I think he said he weighs 216. Pybus is strong. They say his dad is a strength coach. He's a lot stronger than you think. Don't let his size fool you. He's ripped up too and he's cut everywhere. He is incredibly strong. He's strong and fast. He can fly.
Do you think he'll have a chance to be really good?
Bynes: Oh yeah. He's young. He's just a sophomore. The game will come to him. He's still young and he's got the mentality that he can go out there and play every down at linebacker.
What's Coach (Ted) Roof like away from the field? Say you walked into his office. What's he going to be like?
Bynes: He's going to be like, ‘Heyyyy! Hey there buddy!' He's just a kid for real. He likes to have fun and he likes to laugh. He's just a cool person to be around. When he wants to talk about football he'll talk about football, but at the beginning of the summer he was like, ‘Don't worry about the plays, don't worry about the linebacker drills. You've got school, you've got workouts, so right now we don't need you worrying about too much stuff.' He understands what we're going through and how hard the workouts are. He knows when it's the perfect time to throw things in with football. Away from football, he's very happy and he's always got a smile on his face and wants to play and joke a lot.
Right now the offense is watching film of Tulsa from last year, obviously because of Coach (Gus) Malzahn. What is the defense doing?
Bynes: Me and Craig (Stevens), we're helping the freshmen with some plays. I'm showing what the middle linebacker does and Craig is showing the strongside linebacker. Eltoro and Pybus, they're helping out to show the freshmen why we call each play as a unit—what it's for and the reason behind it. We show them why the line lines up where it does, where we need to line up and what we're supposed to do.
What are you doing for school right now?
Bynes: I took two mini-mester classes and I'm taking one right now. I was supposed to have 12 (hours), but in one of the classes they didn't have enough people so they went ahead and dropped the class.
Which classes did you take last mini-mester?
Bynes: I took Lifespan Development and Intro to Ethics. I'm taking Human Sexuality right now.
What's your major?
Bynes: Human Development and Family Studies. I want to be a mentor and motivational speaker—just go to different places and help kids understand about life. There are a lot of things you go through. I'm doing it for juniors and seniors in high school and incoming freshmen in college and some of the things you go through, especially for student-athletes with the stress and how you handle it.
When you're getting recruited you've got college coaches calling you and the process can bug you, but I've been through it and I'd like to help future generations become better with school and with athletes to handle certain situations. A lot of kids like myself are from the ghetto or projects. Even if you're not from there, you handle some of the same situations.
When do you plan on graduating?
Bynes: Right now I'm supposed to graduate next summer. I've got to do a 12-hour internship, so that'll take up my whole summer next year.
One last question...How is life different on an everyday basis under the new coaches?
Bynes: The new coaches bring a little more out of you because they're younger and they like to have fun. They're just like us. They like to have fun. A lot of the coaches like to laugh, kid around and play. They'll let football be football when it's football time. When it's time to go to meetings and all, they're strict. They're focused. But outside of football they have a sense of humor. If you ever need help you can come to them at any point and you feel comfortable doing that. The difference from last year to this year is that we're more of a team. We're becoming more of a team instead of different groups. They're like ‘You might be on offense and you might be on defense, but we're going to go against each other, go at it, and make you better.' We're more competitive and we're going to be more competitive this season.