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Lynn's Resurgence A Small Representation Of A Rebuilt OU Defense

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NORMAN, Oklahoma -

When the name Gabe Lynn comes up, most people associate it with Oklahoma's stunning loss to Texas Tech in 2011.

That night, Lynn, just a sophomore at the time, replaced the injured Jamell Fleming at cornerback and was torched repeatedly by Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege and the Red Raider receivers.

Monday, Lynn was named Big 12 Defense Player of the Week for his performance against West Virginia on Saturday, something no one would have predicted as recently as last season. Lynn had an interception and also recovered a fumble late in the game that helped preserve an Oklahoma win.

"The interception I had and the fumble recovery I had were not even me; that was the defense," Lynn said Monday. "I am just excited on where we can go and the future we have."

With the Sooners losing both Javon Harris and Tony Jefferson at the safety position from last season, Lynn relocated from cornerback to fill the void along with Quinten Hayes. It's a new position for Lynn, but the transition has been smooth for him.

"Playing every position back there in the secondary and knowing what everyone is doing has really helped with the transition," Lynn said.

Lynn's resurgence has been impressive, but so has the growth of the Oklahoma defense. After struggling mightily to close the 2012 season, the Sooners have performed well in the first two games this year, shutting out a good Louisiana-Monroe team and holding West Virginia to a single touchdown—that really should never have happened.

Lynn said the attitudes of both the coaches and players have changed this season, and that's led to a lot of the improvement in the unit.

"We want to get back to where OU was in the early 2000s when we were known for our defense," Lynn said. "In the offseason we got a lot of heat from past players and that motivated us to come back and show them."

That heat and criticism really struck a chord with the defense, which all knew it was true.

"They called us soft and quite frankly we were soft last year," Lynn said. "That is something we don't want to be known as; being soft on defense.

"We talked about it multiple times because it was on us. We were pretty soft last year. Last year is over and we're just looking forward to this year and putting out a different defense."

OU coach Bob Stoops praised Lynn on Monday as well, saying Lynn and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips were the defensive players for the Sooners.

"He's doing everything well to be honest, on top of being a leader, so we are excited," Stoops said of Lynn. "Gabe is a strong hitter, definitely. I love the way he is reading the quarterback and jumping the ball by making that interception the way that he did."

Lynn has come a long way since that terrible night in October of 2011, but his story is just a small representation of a defense that has rebuilt itself after a terrible close to 2012.

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