Freshman linebacker Sam Barrington said Tuesday that he knew he had a chance to play early when he was being recruited by USF.
During fall practice, coach Jim Leavitt complimented Barrington’s play numerous times, and his success in practice has translated to 13 tackles in four games.
However, Barrington’s biggest tackle came Saturday in USF’s 17-7 victory over FSU. On fourth and goal from the USF 3-yard line, he leaped over an FSU guard and prevented running back Ty Jones from reaching the end zone with the help of linebacker Sabbath Joseph.
On Tuesday, Barrington spoke to the media about the win against FSU, his adjustment to college and the Bulls’ Big East opener against Syracuse on Saturday.
Media: Your fourth game as a Bull was possibly the biggest win in school history. Thoughts?
Sam Barrington: It’s smiles. Smiles more than anything. You can’t use (the game against FSU) to prepare you for Syracuse. Each game is its own.
M: How hard is it to put it past you and move forward?
SB: It’s not as hard because I’ve had big wins in the past in high school. That is what makes you a team: If you can take a big win, put it under the rug and celebrate it after the season. It’s time to deal with Syracuse right now.
M: What will a Big East title mean to you?
SB: It’s very important. Dealing with some of the seniors and learning from a lot of them, I feel it’s more important for them. Not only am I playing for myself, I’ll be playing for them. They’ve been the ones here sacrificing these four and five years.
M: When you saw Kion Wilson, a guy you look up to, come back in the game after splitting his hand with injury, what did you think?
SB: It shows his hard work and will. There aren’t too many people who can do that. I knew he’d be back and when it was time for me to step in and play my role, that’s what I did … He’s a great leader and that just shows what type of person he is.
M: As a true freshman, you’ve stepped in and made an impact in all four games this year. What’s been the biggest adjustment coming out of high school?
SB: Playing behind guys. In high school I was that guy, advising guys behind me. It’s always good to pick up something from someone else, and I feel like that’ll complete me as a player later on.
M: Did you expect to play right away this year?
SB: During the recruiting process, that’s one thing I considered – if I would get a chance to contribute early. That’s something coach Leavitt talked to me about. I can say he’s very honest. He told me he was going to give me a chance to come in and play early and if I was ready, I was going to play. That’s what has happened.
M: What was your perspective on that fourth-down, goal-line stand on Saturday, where you jumped over somebody to make a play?
SB: I was just talking to (co-defensive coordinator David) Blackwell about that about two weeks prior to the game. He told me a real linebacker would jump over and make (the play) from backside. That’s what I was thinking about. As soon as I saw the guard go down, I jumped over and went to get him. That’s it.