Wow -- did former U-M staffer Ouimet just say THAT?!">
Wow -- did former U-M staffer Ouimet just say THAT?!">

Ouimet: The U-M Inside Linebackers

"By the Ohio State game, Prescott Burgess will be starting."<br><br> Wow -- did former U-M staffer Ouimet just say THAT?!

Outside Linebacker
56 Lamarr Woodley 6-2 268 So./So.
2 Shawn Crable 6-5 234 So./Fr.

Middle Linebacker
36 Scott McClintock 6-2 243 Sr./Jr.
6 Prescott Burgess 6-3 223 So./So.
45 David Harris 6-2 246 Jr./So.

Middle Linebacker
42 Lawrence Reid 6-1 219 Sr./Jr.
6 Prescott Burgess 6-3 223 So./So.
37 Chris Graham 5-10 205 Fr./Fr.
59 Joey Sarantos 6-3 231 Sr./Jr.
46 Jim Presley 6-2 231 So./Fr.

Outside Linebacker
99 Pierre Woods 6-5 248 Sr./Jr.
90 Tim Jamison 6-3 230 Fr./Fr.
58 Roy Manning 6-2 240 5th/Sr.


"First the interior 'backers. The starters, McClintock and Reid, are both 4th year Juniors. The thing about both these guys is that they both have been hurt in the past. Reid did make it through last year, and he led team in tackles. McClintock has had injuries both of the last two years. I'll be surprised if both make it through the season uninjured -- both are good players but speed is more their game than strength and the pounding they take out there takes its toll.

"That's why I say by the Ohio State game, Burgess will be starting. One of the other two guys will get hurt, or else Prescott will pass one of them because of his speed. But you know what -- Burgess will play a lot regardless. Burgess brings a whole nother presence speed-wise -- he's the fastest of the inside guys. Burgess is young, a sophomore, and switched positions in the spring ... hopefully he has picked up the different linebacker schemes. By the end of the season he should be pretty comfortable in there.

"You add Lamarr and Pierre on the outside -- the speed of the linebacker corps is 'pretty good' isn't it. Endurance is the biggest dilemma, and depth on the inside.

"Backing the guys up on the inside is David Harris -- he has been around, but he hasn't played much and was out last year with a knee injury. Harris is 100% and is strong and pretty mobile.

"Then there is freshman Chris Graham. Graham has come in and wowed the coaches. He's a shorty (hopefully he will actually grow just a little more to reach his listed height of 5-10) -- but 'speed kills'. His game is an Ian Gold approach, meaning he flies around in there, using his speed -- he will make guys change their lanes whether he makes the tackle or not. He will remind people of Eric Mayes, who was a captain in the '97 season but who got hurt right at the beginning of the season. Chris is strong too, so hopefully he'll be able to take the pounding.

"Harris should get some snaps against Miami, and Graham very well could as well, and we'll see what they can make of it. If they play well in the beginning their roles could increase as the season progresses.

"As a whole, Michigan is better off at inside linebacker than last year, but they still have a ways to go. None of those guys are seniors of course. Having Graham coming in ready to play will definitely help the depth chart. Michigan likes to go 4-5 deep in rotating guys at inside 'backer, so everybody has to come through for there really to be good depth. And as I said, injuries have hit that unit quickly in the past.

"But ... having Woodley and Woods on the outside definitely helps, wouldn't you say!"

Next: the outside backers.

(Left) Joe Sarantos and Prescott Burgess ... (Right) Scott McClintock and Lawrence Reid

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