Anthony Barr talks about the upcoming season:
Q: alright, here with Anthony Barr. Getting through the second spring as linebacker. But really the first spring because the last one you had a tough time. I mean, how much more comfortable are you feeling at the position even then say at this time last year?
AB: much more comfortable. This time last year, it was the first couple of days playing the position. So I have a good feel as to what I'm asked to do. You know, what my position calls for. And I'm just going full speed.
Q: I mean, they're branching you out a little bit now. You're playing kind of that what Datone [Jones] and Cassius [Marsh] did a little bit last year on offense, in that goal line situation. You look pretty natural as that kind of split-out wide too. I mean, how comfortable do you feel in that kind of role?
AB: oh, extremely comfortable. You know, extremely comfortable. It's just something I've done, you know, in the past. It's something I've been used to doing. It's something I'm comfortable with and excited for. [audio difficulties]
Q: watching it, you looked very natural there to the point where… I mean, when you were deciding to make a position change last year, did you consider at all, like instead of doing linebacker, maybe doing Y or receiver or something like that?
AB: oh, no. Not at all.
Q: no? It was straight-up linebacker from then on?
AB: straight defense. Yes. I was trying to change the mindset. The whole attitude. I do miss it sometimes. It's fun out there scoring touchdowns. There's nothing like that, but there's also nothing like defense. I'm enjoying myself so far.
Q: how much of a mindset shift did that take for you because I know that that last year when you were on offense, you were blocking like way better than you had previously, was it that big of a shift to then go to defense after that?
AB: yeah, I think it was a pretty big shift, you know, but I think the coaches have had a lot to do with that. You know, it wasn't just myself. The entire team kind of took on a different mindset. And that kind of just helped us move our way through the transition. Helped ourselves become a much better team.
Q: I mean, obviously, you chose to come back this year and you had the potential to be drafted, potentially as a first-rounder. Can you talk about just the reasoning behind that? And was part of it the fact that this defense could be so good this year that made you want to do it?
AB: yeah, that was definitely a part of it. Personally, I have a lot to work on. Like I said, it was my first time playing the position really. So, technique. And just getting bigger and stronger. And also, my teammates and coaches. You know, I felt like I owed it to them. They helped me so far. They helped me so much to get to where I am now. So I felt like we could really be special this year.
Q: you put on… I mean, obviously, you're a little bit bigger than last year. How much weight did you put on?
AB: about 10 pounds. I think I finished last year like 232. I came into spring at 245. So I put on some decent amount of weight. That's all Coach [Sal Alosi - Strength & Conditioning Coordinator] and his staff… They put us through the rigors. The winter program. It all paid off.
Q: is that the goal playing weight in fall? 245?
AB: I'll try to get a little bigger for camp. Because, you know, once you get to camp, who knows how much weight you'll lose up there. I'm going to put on as much as I can. To the point where I don't feel slow, and I don't feel lethargic.
Q: yeah, you started last year at what? About 235, 237?
AB: yeah, about right.
Q: okay. So, I mean, one thing that Coach [Jim Mora - Head Coach] said the other day is he wanted to start your Heisman campaign. Have you thought about that at all? Is that something you wanna…
AB: a little bit. I mean, but that's a way's down the road. I mean, we still have to play our first game yet. So all the accolades post year. I'm worried about just getting better. Getting this team better. Winning some games first.
Q: did that play into your decision at all to stay? I mean, he said, you know, "first round," "potential #1 pick" and that sort of thing. That's what you got to play for?
AB: yeah. Right. That definitely played a role, but I think it was much deeper than that. All that stuff would be great, but personally, just developing as a player is #1.
Q: and, I mean, is it exciting for you to potentially play that role on offense and have an even bigger impact on the team? I mean, you had a huge impact on defense last year, but being able to play that?
AB: oh, yeah. I'm so excited for that. Any way I can help our team win. I think we're going to miss Joe [Fauria] down there. You know, a big body. A guy that can go up and get the ball. And we need a bigger back in goal line situations. I mean, we have Malcolm Jones, but all the other backs kind of, you know, want to get to the outside… If I can just help the team in any way, I'm excited for that.
Q: I mean, you return… so on defense, you return 3 starting linebackers this year. And just the general level of comfort of the defense is a lot better. What are your expectations as a unit? Like do you think you can really even have.. Even better than you played in the last six games last year?
AB: without a doubt. Without a doubt. You know, we have to help the guys in the back too. There'll be a lot of young guys out there. At the corner and DB positions. So we got to really make their job easier by getting after the quarterback and teeing off and that kind of stuff.
Q: have you been giving Aaron Wallace and Kenny Orjioke some tutelage on how to play that position?
AB: oh, definitely. Coach [Jeff Ulbrich - Assistant Head Coach - Special Teams/Linebackers] is the man when it comes to all that. If you need anything, go to him and he'll give it all to you.
Q: alright. Cool.
VIDEO: Barr on Heisman Talk
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