Spring Football Preview 2009: Linebackers

The once proud linebacking corps of A&M looks to rebuild this spring with some young talent mixing with key position changes at that level. Jeff Jennings takes a look at this crucial position for the Aggies.

At linebacker we have yet another area with a handful of players who are, in a current and anticipated competition, trying to get a leg up on what will be a team searching for immediate impact from fall camp's newcomers. On campus now, and trying to get a jump on the new blood are Garrick Williams, Anthony Lewis, Ricky Cavanaugh, Andrew Wolridge and Kyle Mangan.

It's not a sunny disposition for the Aggies but we'll see who is opportunistic enough to raise their game and emerge from this with solid footing heading into fall and give this group some semblance of capable starters to buy those freshmen some time to develop and learn at this level of the game. Clearly not a high bar but this is what we have to work with.

Anthony Lewis played to heavy last year and it showed. He now looks to be in much better shape, however, while still big can bring the wood, plain and simple. Though not a sideline to sideline player, Lewis is great between the tackles and has very good instincts.

Other forerunners at the position include Garrick Williams and Ricky Cavanaugh. The speedy Williams spun down from safety last spring. With a year at the position and a season starting behind him, he should be a lot more comfortable and able to play faster mentally. In addition to that mental aspect it was also obvious so many times last season that our inexperienced LB corps was just all over the place. Whether trying to do too much and over-pursuing or abandoning their gap responsibility, it should be a lot cleaner on that end of things. The speedy and hard-hitting Ricky Cavanaugh is a guy to keep a close eye on. Though a little on the small side, if he can pick up the mental side of the game he has the physical tools for a solid career in maroon and white.

Also throwing their talents in the ring and well worth following will be Andrew Wolridge, a smart player who is also very strong and fast. Kyle Mangan is a good athlete whose play recognition and instincts helped make him such a highly touted high school linebacker.

Overall

There is talent here but it's no secret they need to improve greatly and have a few emerge from the pack heading into fall. While I'm not saying it can't happen, counting on that many incoming freshmen to step up and strengthen this unit, as extremely talented as they are, is long odds. We must have a foundation at LB before then.




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