Texas Tech Depth Chartin' :: The Linebackers

Previously on Texas Tech Depth Chartin' :: The Quarterbacks :: The Running Backs :: The Receivers :: The Offensive Line :: The Defensive Line ::

Overall: The real guessing begins. There was a tease on RRS.com that noted that Bird and Fehoko leading the way as the two outside linebackers. Bird makes sense, but I had Fehoko penciled in as the inside linebacker next to Brian Duncan. I mentioned this when talking about the defensive line. I think I have a good understanding of how a traditional 3-4 defense works, but from the bits and pieces I've been able to gather, what I think of what a traditional 3-4 is not what Tuberville may want. My understanding of a typical 3-4 (I watch a bunch of Dallas Cowboy games and that's my point of reference) where there's a nose tackle, two big defensive ends, two outside linebackers that can rush the passer, and two solid inside linebackers. I should also mention that RRS.com probably isn't guessing as to a depth chart, whereas I'm absolutely guessing. RRS.com probably has talked to the coaching staff about the current depth chart, but I still believe that there's going to be a lot to be settled on the field. With that tease, I've made some changes with the thought that perhaps Tuberville wants a fast WILB (think Howard, Cobb or Chidozie) and not what I think of regarding a traditional WILB.

Again, this is supposed to be fun, and it was a tough exercise, but there's a lot of ways this staff could turn this year. Enjoy after the jump.

Weakside Inside Linebacker

Player Ht/Wt Year Probable Role
Julius Howard 6-1/208 SR Starter
Daniel Cobb 6-1/211 RS FR Backup
Dion Chidozie 6-1/194 RS FR Backup
Cqulin Hubert 6-1/217 FR Redshirt

Who Is Gone: Marlon Williams. God speed, sir.

Who Is Still Around: Julius Howard: This makes sense to me. Howard was always an in-between player, not really a linebacker in a 4-3 and not really a safety either. Howard seems like the sort of player that's going to have some success in a scheme that emphasizes speed. You'll note that just about every player listed at this weakside inside linebacker spot are all about the same type of player and when placing players at positions, body-type was a consideration.

Daniel Cobb: The former staff was going to move Cobb to linebacker and I'd imagine that the current staff will continue with that move. I would imagine that Cobb represents the ideal linebacker that Tuberville wants to run out there. I tend to take note of players that a staff wants to promote and Cobb is one of those type of players.

Dion Chidozie: I would imagine that Chidozie has put on weight (this is what he weighed in at as a freshman) and when Chidozie was recruited he was exactly the same type of player that Tuberville would have wanted. Again, depending on his size, I could see Chidozie moving around a bit, but he's the fast linebacker that Tuberville craves.

Cqulin Hubert: The thing I worry about with Hubert is that whether his size and speed are accurate. Hubert may be bigger than the 217 listed and he may be faster than the 5.0+ 40-yard dash time. Long story short, Hubert is probably destined to play inside, but I'm not sure at this point.

Strongside Inside Linebacker

Player Ht/Wt Year Probable Role
Brian Duncan 6-1/240 SR Starter
Tyrone Sonier 6-2/225 JR First Backup
Joe Carmical 6-2/225 FR Redshirt

Who Is Gone: No one.

Who Is Still Around: Brian Duncan: Duncan is about as solid as there is and he should be fine as the strongside inside linebacker. This makes sense and I think he'll have more success in the 3-4 than in a 4-3 as he may not leave the field while on defense (this is an exaggeration, but I think he's going to play a ton). Duncan will be the perfect guy to help Tuberville transition to the 3-4 and I'd guess that he's going to be the coach on the field.

Tyrone Sonier: This sets up for Sonier to be ready to step on the field for his senior year. It's unfortunate that he's not going to see much time this next year, but I'll say that although Sonier hasn't seen a bunch of time, I think he's a pretty good player. In fact, although Fehoko gets more mentions, I think that he and Sonier are very similar players (both were pass-rushing defensive ends in high school) and if Fehoko is going to play on the outside, Sonier may get some looks there as well.

Joe Carmical: Carmical is the guy that everyone is hoping turns into the under-rated player that excels. In seeing the video, everyone was perplexed how Carmical received very few offers. Again, it's clear that Carmical is a helluva athlete, played the option quarterback in high school as well as linebacker. Carmical was born to play inside linebacker.

Weakside Outside Linebacker

Player Ht/Wt Year Probable Role
Bront Bird 6-3/240 SR Starter
Aundrey Barr 6-3/238 RS FR First Backup
Kerry Hyder 6-3/255 RS FR Backup
Dartwan Bush 6-2/250 FR Redshirt
Lawrence Cayou 6-4/255 FR Redshirt

Who Is Gone: No one.

Who Is Still Around: Bront Bird: Much like Duncan was made to play the inside linebacker spot, Bird seems like a natural fit at outside linebacker (i.e. the Demarcus Ware position). This makes complete success and I think he'll have quite a bit of success here. I also think this helps Bird get more notice for the NFL draft, which I'm not sure that would have happened in a normal 3-4. I think that Bird can be a very good outside linebacker that can rush the passer as well as stopping the run.

Aundrey Barr: Barr is everyone's sleeper darling from last year. Barr, like Carmical, wasn't offered by a ton of big schools, but his tape makes you wonder why he wasn't. Barr is probably even more set up to be the perfect OLB as he played DE in high school and he's added 12 or 13 pounds over his redshirt year (he checked in at 225 from high school).

Kerry Hyder: I mentioned Hyder as a defensive end, but I could also see Hyder seeing some time as an outside linebacker, especially if he stays closer to the 240 range rather than putting on more weight.

Dartwan Bush: Lots of folks have made comparisons between Bush and a poor man's Dwight Freeney. Bush was a fairly prolific pass rusher in high school, but he lacked the proto-typical size for a true 4-3 defensive end, which is where he would have played under the old regime. I think Bush is just right for this outside pass-rushing position.

Lawrence Cayou: Cayou has more physical gifts than Bush, and has the size aspect going for him (Bush may not be 6-2, but closer to 6-0). I'll be excited to see both of these guys battle for this spot or some other spot. Again, the best thing about all of this is that there's more than a handful of young pass-rushing players that will all be competing for playing time in the next couple of years.

Strongside Outside Linebacker

Aside: I'm breaking this down between the more traditional pass rushing outside linebacker (Barr and Knighton) and the Fehoko type of traditional linebacker. Not sure where they'll go, but there are options.

Player Ht/Wt Year Probable Role
Aundrey Barr 6-3/238 RS FR Possible Starter
Chris Knighton 6-3/240 RS FR Backup
Sam Fehoko 5-11/220 JR Possible Starter
Brandon Mahoney 6-2/203 RS FR Backup
Zach Winbush 6-2/200 FR Redshirt

Who Is Gone: No one.

Who Is Still Around: Aundrey Barr: From what I know of a traditional 3-4, the WOLB would be your traditional pass-rushing player. If Tuberville and Willis want to just send some players to get the quarterback, then this might be a perfect spot for Barr to have no responsibilities other than to put his head down and try to get to the quarterback.

Chris Knighton: Much like Hyder, Knighton was mentioned along the defensive line, but I could envision him as a pass-rushing specialist.

Sam Fehoko: As I try to rationalize this, Fehoko played defensive end in high school, so maybe this is a case of the staff liking Fehoko's ability to rush and the fact that last year, he learned to play a little more disciplined last year as an inside linebacker. This may also be a situation where Tuberville and Willis wants to get his best players on the field, and Fehoko certainly qualifies, but I just thought he'd be inside, but apparently that's not where the staff is headed.

Brandon Mahoney: Mahoney was originally an Oklahoma commit that switched to Texas Tech, although I think that there were some issues with Mahoney qualifying that were put to rest after qualifying last year. In any event, Mahoney could a number of linebacker spots, from this outside spot to an inside position. Very versatile player.

Zach Winbush: You could pretty much say the exact same thing about Winbush that I did about Mahoney. Very similar players and I'm very excited to have both of these players on board. The former staff did start to make a change in the type of player they recruited at linebacker and Mahoney and Winbush represent that change. Faster players in the 200 pound range that could run all over the field.

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