At Home in the Chaos

The first commitment Gary Crowton received as BYU's new head coach was from the country's 19th ranked all-purpose running back in the 2002. Four years later, the Carlsbad High School's Aaron Singh is now butting heads with running backs as he stands his ground in the middle of the defensive melee.

Aaron Singh was a star at running back and safety in a tough southern California league. He played well enough to be asked to represent his state in the California-Florida All-Star game, where he did not disappoint. Now, back from an LDS mission with a redshirt year under his belt, Singh bounced from running back, to a safety, to outside linebacker and finally settled at middle linebacker.

"This spring has been going really well for me," said Singh. "I'm staying healthy and I've gotten really strong. From last year, I've gotten a hundred times better in regards to my strength, my endurance and my position mastery. I get to hit somebody and that's probably the most fun thing of the day. I love hitting and that's what I look forward to everyday and playing hard.

"Last year I was a safety. I bulked up a little bit and the coaches put me at outside linebacker and now I'm playing at inside linebacker and I'm having fun. I bulked up by about 15-pounds last year and then I lost five pounds and got my speed up."

Singh is close to joining fellow linebackers such as Cameron Jensen and Markell Staffieri as a member of the "Elite Club." He surpassed the squat qualification by 60 pounds and the clean qualification by 55, but needs to add 25 more pounds on the bench press.

"As far as my strength goes I've increased my bench, my squat and my clean by about 100 pounds each," said Singh. "Coach Omer has really put us to work over last summer and over the fall. My squat is 560-pounds, my clean is 355-pounds and my bench is 375 and so it's gone up quite a bit."

Ever since he was switched from safety to middle linebacker, Singh has moved up and through a tough, competitive, deep group of linebackers to find himself backing up Cameron Jensen on the second team defense.

"I'm playing on the second team defense," said Singh. "This is a very tough group of linebackers, so you gotta make more plays than the next guy because the depth chart is always changing. Anyone of these guys could step in and start above you, that's how good we are.

"I love playing middle linebacker because you're in the middle of everything and there is just chaos all around you and you have to be the one to make sense of it all. At middle linebacker you have a little more freedom to roam around. Its fun laying the hit on the running backs and the receivers and at the same time it's kind of fun getting smacked around by the big boys up front, so it keeps you humble."

One aspect Singh enjoys by playing middle linebacker is the freedom the 3-4-4 defense provides for the linebacker group to roam the field and make plays.

"In the 3-3-5 when you're playing safety you can either play zone or you can play man," said Singh. "The 3-3-5 relied more on the safeties but with the 3-4-4 the safeties play more zone so you have a lot more freedom like the middle linebackers to roam. The safeties and the corners play a lot more zone so they both have a lot more freedom back there. The linebackers will sometimes man up, but there is a lot more help over top. As far as defending against the run goes, it's kind of the same. The safeties and the linebackers comparably blitz about the same between the two types of defenses, but rather than having the safeties do it in the 3-3-5 the linebackers are now responsible for that."

Since the time he first came to BYU, Singh has seen the program evolve under the leadership of the new coaching staff. He feels the team is more goal oriented and unified since the time he first stepped on campus back in 2002.

"It's a lot more disciplined," said Singh. "Discipline is probably one of the biggest things and if you're not disciplined and giving full effort then you won't make it on this team. As far as talent goes, we have a lot of talent on this team. We don't have the best talent in the nation, but as far as giving a 100 percent effort and measuring the heart of our team, I'll put us up against anyone."

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