Sports Magazine

NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Predicting the Blackshirts – BUCK Linebacker

By Huskerlocker @huskerlocker

 

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By Brandon Cavanaugh
A Bo Pelini-led defense is salty and vicious. Only a select few can call themselves starters and are rewarded by being part of a Nebraska tradition that spans over four decades. A simple black practice jersey denotes some of the nastiest young men in the country. We look at the into the crystal ball and see what's to come for the 2011 Blackshirt unit.
BUCK Linebacker
After four years of hiding in the back pages of the Pelini defensive playbook, the BUCK a.k.a. strongside linebacker position is looking to make a comeback. With the necessity to slow down powerful runners like Wisconsin’s Montee Ball and James White, Michigan State’s Edwin Baker and Ohio State’s Dan “Boom” Herron, another big body will be required to ensure that two-yard gains don’t increase into eight-yard ones.
Three candidates lead for the starting BUCK position with the first being junior Sean Fisher. His career has been derailed by injuries, so there hasn’t been much opportunity to get a read on what the Omaha, Nebraska native is capable of. If he holds up through the non-conference slate and Wisconsin game, that should be looked upon as an excellent sign and give a general forecast for the remainder of his 2011 success.
Another individual vying for playing time is junior Graham Stoddard. He played in all 14 games last season primarily in a special teams role, but gained more experience in actual defensive schemes towards the end of the year. At 6’2” 235, Stoddard possesses the perfect size to seal off attacks with the assistance of the MIKE linebacker and safety support from the likes of Courtney Osborne if need be.
Finally, walk-on redshirt freshman Trevor Roach has been showing some impressive maneuverability for a 6’2” 240-pounder. Nebraska may have inherited an excellent athlete in Roach as he could very well challenge Stoddard and Fisher for playing time in 2011, though it’s doubtful that he takes over the starting role.
While Fisher was taken out of action for the entire 2010 season, his athletic gifts and familiarity with running against an opposing team’s best helps him immensely in this race. If he’s injured again, look for Stoddard and Roach to battle for the coveted black jersey, but as long as Fisher’s in one piece, he has the rightful claim to it.
Projected Blackshirt: Sean Fisher
Other Predicted Starters: Strongside Defensive End, Strongside Defensive Tackle, Weakside Defensive Tackle, WILL Linebacker, MIKE Linebacker
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