'06 Inventory: LB and P

BF.com concludes its postseason look at the 2006 football team with the linebackers and punters.


The roster (9) Losses (2)
  • Junior Derrick Doggett
  • Junior Andy Darkins
  • Junior Alan Darlin
  • Sophomore Eddie Stamm
  • Sophomore Dennis Christopher
  • Sophomore Isiah Cook
  • Sophomore Bryant Cornell
  • Sophomore Eric Moala
  • Sophomore Casey Noack
  • Trent Bray
  • Keith Ellison
Current Verbals (6) Need (0)
  • Freshman Mana Lolotai
  • Freshman Tom Hansen
  • Junior Joey LaRocque
  • Freshman Keaton Kristick
  • Freshman Micheal Sipili
  • Freshman Kevin Unga
  • None

The outlook -
For the first time in almost a decade the linebackers are without at least one proven veteran. Gone are the stalwarts that have solidified the defense and the middle of the field for half of a decade.

True starter Andy Darkins and part time starter Derrick Doggett return, but as of right now, the unit lacks a commanding presence in the middle. They also lack a player with speed, in the vein of James Allen, Darnell Robinson or Keith Ellison. But the roster is loaded with tough, blue-collar players with a lot of heart, but that kind of talent can take you only so far.

In what Darksins lacks in speed he makes up for it in smarts.  Look for Darkins to take on a strong leadership role this season.  Doggett received lots of time rotating in and out with Darkins.  He was also honored by being named a first team all-conference special teams player and, usually, a good special team's player equals a good starter.  Doggett certainly has the inside track on a starting job with his time in the system and athletic ability, but a starting spot won't be handed to him.

The fiery Alan Darlin had a quality year on special teams and will get a shot at a starting spot.  He's thick and intimidating, but not very quick.  Darlin could be one of the emotional leaders on the defensive side of the ball.  Darlin will compete with Eric Moala for the middle linebacking spot. Moala played with the second team last year and on special teams.  He is confident, smart and wants to lead as well.

Isaiah Cook and Dennis Christopher are both athletic and in the similar mold as Doggett. It is still relatively unknown what they can bring to the table, but most assuredly they will be a large help on special teams. Bryant Cornell is yet another hard-hitting linebacker in the mold of Darkins and Darlin but further illustrates the speed concern with the linebacking squad.

Junior college transfer Joey LaRocque is expected to grab a starting role. He is tough, prefers the SAM position and has a little more speed then most players on the roster.  LaRocque possesses good footwork and lateral movement which places him around the ball.  With the expected signing of several linebackers in this year's recruiting class walk-ons Eddie Stamm and Casey Noack may choose to transfer to another school for a shot at playing time.


Spring ball -
Just like every other position on the team, fundamentals and attention to detail will be preached.  Basically, all three linebacking spots are open in the spring as everyone must prove to the coaching staff they are good enough to start.  Finding a linebacker who can stay with wide outs will be one of the points of focus.  Also, the rudiments of avoiding or taking on opponents at the line of scrimmage will be worked on as well.

Look for the staff to have two of the three positions locked down by the end of April with the third being decided in August.


Keep your eye on - Isaiah Cook and Dennis Christopher. Both are young players that have been overshadowed by the Keith Ellison's and Trent Bray's. With a year under their belts, this could be the year one of them breaks out.


Punter and Snapper

The roster (3) Losses (1)
  • Sophomore Aaron Carlson (snapper)
  • Junior Jon Stowbridge
  • Redshirt freshman Jake Harry
  • Sam Paulescu
Current Verbals (1) Need (0)
  • Freshman Kyle Loomis
  • None

The outlook -
Uh oh, this could be one of the more scary positions on the team.  It will either be a junior or a freshman to take over the starting duties.  Jon Stowbridge has been in the system several seasons and worked out with the scout team last year.  His time with Bruce Read and Sam Paulescu has prepared him to take over the starting role, but he must earn it.

Jake Harry redshirted last year and wants to prove his worth and earn a scholarship.  Stowbridge is ahead of him knowledge-wise, but Harry has the physical tools to push for playing time.


Spring ball -
Lots of repetitions are in store for the players as the coaches evaluate the talent. Jon Stowbridge is the frontrunner but will be pushed by invited walk-on Jake Harry. 


Keep your eye on - Jon Stowbridge. He has the knowledge and confidence to step right in and pick up where Paulescu left off.

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