Different venue: Barnes, Haverty reunite on Cardinals’ defense

Published 12:03 am Tuesday, March 8, 2016

BEAUMONT — Trey Haverty recruited then-Port Arthur Memorial standout Jalen Barnes with the intent that both would get to build a consistent product on the defensive side at Texas Tech over a four-year span.
Three years after both began their run together in Lubbock, they’re now in Beaumont.
“It’s definitely an odd coincidence, but [I’m] glad,” Haverty said Monday evening, moments before taking the Provost Umphrey Field as Lamar’s defensive coordinator for the first time in spring drills. “I sat in his living room. When we got to Texas Tech, we had about a month to sign the class, so I was sitting in his living room and I got to know his family really well. I’ve known him the last couple of years and I’m happy to be around him.”
The start of spring practice is the culmination of big changes in the past three months for both coach and player. Haverty, an All-America wide receiver at Tech in the early 2000s, was fired as the Red Raiders’ outside linebackers coach on Dec. 1, but was named to his current position on Jan. 16, replacing Craig McGallion. On Dec. 18, it was announced Barnes would transfer from Texas Tech, 11 days before the Red Raiders eventually lost to LSU in the Texas Bowl.
“Pretty much I was just unsatisfied with the playing time I was getting on the field,” Barnes said. “And then [Lamar running backs] coach [Brian] Morgan hit me up saying they got a spot for me and they were interested and all of that.”
The 6-foot, 189-pound Barnes, who’ll be a redshirt junior this coming season, played in only five games this past season in the secondary and on special teams, recording two tackles against Sam Houston State and one against UTEP. He was in 10 games his redshirt freshman season.
He also spent time under three defensive coordinators in Lubbock, as did Haverty. The latter is installing a 4-2-5 formation, a change from the three-man front under McGallion that saw flexibility between the four- and five-defensive back packages.
Haverty adopted the scheme from his days at TCU, where his stints as a graduate assistant and full-time assistant sandwiched his time as defensive coordinator at Millsaps College in Mississippi.
“I’m just really excited to see the 4-2-5 and how that plays out,” Barnes said. “Five DBs on the field, that’s just an amazing sight to see with the athletes and speed right there by itself.”
But the scheme isn’t Haverty’s main concern just yet as spring drills get under way.
“Day one, there’s going to be mistakes, and we know that, but the effort’s got to be there,” Haverty said. “Day one is just alignment and assignment, and we’ll be able to fix the mistakes. More than anything, [we need to] be able to solve problems and play good football at the end of the day.”
Greater news for Haverty is that he goes into a new venture with a former Big 12 head coach in John Blake, who’s coaching the defensive line, and Willie Mack Garza running the secondary.
“It’s going to be great,” said Haverty, who has Ben Beasley returning to coach the linebackers. “We get along well and mold well. A lot of years of experience sitting in the room together. Coach Garza’s been in this system at TCU before I was in the system at TCU. A lot of guys with a lot of knowledge and just getting on the same page because they’re different ways to call things, but [we’ll succeed] as long as we’re on the same page and the guys are getting coached hard. Until we put a product on the field, the people won’t be able to see that.”
Barnes, meanwhile, gets to see the product for 15 practices this spring, including the April 16 spring game. And he knows what to expect from Haverty.
“Just knowing coach Haverty and how he coaches, I feel like I’ll be an asset,” Barnes said. “He trusts me on and off the field to do the right things.”

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About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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