The competion at middle linebacker next season will be wide open. Defensive Coordinator and linebacker coach Chuck Bullough said that various players will get a shot, like sophomore Steve Sloan, redshirt freshman Patrick Larimore, true freshman Todd Golper -- even possibly Isaiah Bowens, who was playing the strongside spot. <p>
Larimore talked to us after practice this week...
Obviously, the Mike spot is going to be wide open and is vitally important in this defense. I'm just wondering, through the year, if you've been putting in a lot of extra time to get a jump on everything that you need to know, the reads and adjustments, getting everyone lined up right?
‘'Yes. Me and Coach (Clark) Lea and especially Christian Taylor put in a lot of extra time because it's a very complex at Mike. You have to know what everyone else does and I'm still ... I have a lot to learn, but definitely you have to put in time and me and Christian and Coach Lea have put in a lot of time. It's very complicated. Reggie Carter does it very well, but it's taken him a while to learn it, and he's very good. There's a tremendous amount to learn because everything changes with shifts and stuff, so … it's a lot.''
With everything else you have to do in a week, how much time do you actually get to sit there in a film room studying and taking notes?
‘'You mean with school and stuff? It's hard because you have lift, then you have classes. Usually I would go in after class sometimes, but sometimes you have to eat and do other stuff. But now that school is out, there's a lot of extra time to study my book and stuff. There's a lot to learn.''
How much of a head start does that give you going into the spring?
‘'Definitely being able to get reps during fall as a backup really helped me a lot in order to visualize it and learn it, and going in it helps a lot because there's so much to learn and if you have to study it and do it at practice, it's a lot harder than just going in and knowing it and then be able to get reps at it.''
That's the thing, during the season you didn't get a chance to rep it out …
‘'No, that's why it's crucial to come in knowing it so you can get repetitions.''
Christian did it really well … what kind of a teacher is he?
‘'Well, Coach (Chuck) Bullough told me when I was meeting with Christian that Christian is the smartest linebacker that he's ever coached and Coach Bullough has coached all kinds, coached Brian Urlacher and stuff, so that's a very big compliment for Christian. Christian just knows everything about Mike, so I can go to him about anything and he knows right off the bat.''
So did you seek him out, how did that work getting together?
‘'I sought him out. He was here in camp on the sidelines and I kind of got to know him.''
When you were going through the recruiting process, you got to watch him …
‘'It was his senior year. He was very good, very smart. He just knew everything, what everybody's responsibility was, because as a Mike that's what you have to do. You have to move everybody around and you have to know everybody's responsibility and then your own.''
In terms of moving those pieces around, where do you feel you are? You probably never feel like you have everything …
‘'I have a long way to go and a lot more studying to do, but I feel like I'm getting more confident in what I know. But I still have to work hard … have a lot to keep learning, get ingrained in my head.''
The goal obviously is to be the guy in the fall, but getting there, going into the spring, during the spring, after the spring, how much do you see yourself just sitting in the film room?
‘'A lot. At least a couple of hours every day would be good. Obviously, sometimes with school and tests and finals that doesn't always happen. But that's what I'd like to be able to do - study my book and go over film every day.''
That whole eating and sleeping thing gets in the way, too, huh?
‘'Yeah, food … you gotta have body function.''