Svetina Back in Comfort Zone

Mike Svetina is back at inside linebacker after spending last season at the Star.

CHAMPAIGN — Mike Svetina changed positions last season for the team's best interest.

After sacrificing as a sophomore at the Star, Svetina returned to inside linebacker prior to spring drills.

It was a move with both his and the team's best interests in mind.

"It's definitely what I'm familiar with," he said. "At the end of the day I'm just going to do whatever to help the team and we're just out here having fun together."

Nothing against Svetina, but it's not like the 6-foot-2, 235-pound Ohio native evoked the standard vision of a player playing the ‘Star' spot.

When you think of the ideal Star, guys like Earnest Thomas and Eric Finney come to mind. But Thomas was playing safety last year and Finney and reserve B.J. Bello were injured in August.

Svetina was called over and plugged into the starting line-up. Although lacking the speed most Stars have, Svetina did his best. He finished with 57 tackles, including a season-high nine at Penn State.

It wasn't always easy — a couple missed tackles while trying to bring down Ohio State's Braxton Miller come to mind. But the experience taught Svetina a great deal.

"It definitely helped me understand the defense as a whole," he said. "You understand what the guy next to you is doing and where your help is. It definitely helped bring everything together."

Svetina needed to be at inside linebacker. The position needed him, too. Jonathan Brown leaving left holes in both production and leadership. A guy like Svetina, with two years starting experience, boosts both those areas.

"We definitely lost a great leader with JB and was one of the bigger guys on the defense last year," he said. "We just have to move on. We have what we have and we have some experienced guys back, too."

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