|Sammy Douglas||6-3||195||LB||FR||Arlington, Texas||Arlington High School|
|Paul Whitmill||5-11||205||LB||FR||Bastrop, Texas||Bastrop High School|
|Dac Shaw||6-2||200||LB||FR||Mineola, Texas||Mineola High School|
|41||Jonathan Anderson||6-3||220||LB||JR||Corpus Christi, Texas||Carroll High School|
|47||Paul Dawson||6-2||230||LB||JR||Dallas, Texas||Trinity Valley CC|
|36||Joel Hasley||6-1||223||LB||JR||Aledo, Texas||Aledo High School|
|48||Max Newey||6-1||228||LB||SO||Boulder, Colo.||Fairview High School|
|18||Alex Adewunmi||6-1||210||LB||SR||Dallas, Texas||Eastern New Mexico|
|54||Marcus Mallet||6-1||227||LB||JR||Cleveland, Texas||Cleveland High School|
|34||Joey Rowe||5-11||205||LB||RS FR||Phoenix, Ariz.||Brophy College Preparatory|
|42||Peter Okonofua||6-2||240||LB||JR||Mansfield, Texas||Oklahoma State|
Gone is Kenny Cain, leader of the pack and perennial bad ass.
Returning is Paul Dawson, whitest of white guys whose grit seems to continually keep him on top of the depth chart, despite his athleticism being only a slight tick above mine (maybe two ticks).
Going into spring practice, the other LB slot was almost totally up for grabs. Paul Dawson got some time last year, as did Marcus Mallet. Jonathan Anderson was also in line to pick up some playing time. I call this group the "Junior-philes."
Well, the post spring depth chart shows Hasley and Mallet at the top, but I have to think Paul Dawson and incoming freshmen Whitmill, Shaw, and Douglas could play a role at some point in 2013. Probably not right away, as the position is deep enough for TCU to not rush one of these guys, but they will see the field.
My overall opinion of the line backing group has been kinda blah the last few years. We have had talent there, but seemingly not all at once. Carder was great, but often hurt... Cain was great, but played next to Whitey McWhitenstein. This year, we have a cast of characters who are all big, strong and mildly fast, but are they more than that? Hasley knows the schemes and coverages, he hits his holes consistently, Mallet/Dawson are next level physically but aren't on Hasley's level when it comes to the mental side of things. Again, we are disjointed.
But, we are talking about the nations best defense, coached by the nations best LB coach, this is the one spot where I am OK with less than perfect athletes, because I know we will coach em up to average, at least.
Which, to put it another way, is the point: Coming out of spring training, the line backing position is still the weakest unit on defense... But, this weak unit returns one starter, and two guys with extensive playing time, so it is hard to complain too much.