LBs at a Glance: Luke Chase

It's our second crack at the linebacking group, and today we're moving from the outside to the inside, where UW coach Joe Glenn thinks he may have the best tandem in the Mountain West Conference.

"On the inside, Luke Chase and Ward Dobbs will be as good as any two inside guys in the league," Glenn told CSTV earlier this year. "They have a great deal of savvy and are extremely aggressive. The two of them have seen a lot of things, and that experience is invaluable in the middle of our defense."

Today we discuss Chase, who has more game experience than any other player on the defense.

With offers in high school from Boise State, Colorado, Colorado State, Kansas, Missouri, UNLV, Oregon, Oregon State and San Diego State in addition to UW, the Cowboys were lucky to land the aggressive linebacker. Chase put together a tremendously impressive high school athletics resume, dominating on both sides of the football field and placing in the state's top three spots in wrestling each of his last three years. He put up an incredible 149 tackles his junior and senior years as a linebacker and was chosen as both his team's Most Valuable Player and an all-state selection in 2002.

After redshirting his freshman season with the Cowboys, Chase went on to make an immediate impact on the field, finishing in the top 10 in tackles on the team each year and playing in 35 games since 2003. As a redshirt freshman, he posted 45 tackles, including an impressive 7.5 for a loss, in limited playing time. During the Cowboys' opening game of the season, the freshman showed what he could bring to the defense, blocking a punt that teammate Derrick Martin returned for a touchdown. A year later as a sophomore in 2005, Chase had his best season to date, putting up 59 total tackles and two fumble recoveries.

After two promising seasons, expectations were understandably high going into 2006—a year in which the big backer actually posted the lowest numbers of his career, with 44 tackles. It wasn't that he had a bad season, though; sophomore teammate Ward Dobbs just had an incredible one, putting up 69 tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble, and taking a considerable amount of pressure off Chase's broad shoulders.

Now playing in his last season for the Pokes, the 6-1, 240-pound defensive animal will have the chance to be the leader coaches expect him to be, and with all the experience he's racked up the last three years, opposing squads should have a difficult time throwing anything at the senior that he hasn't already seen a time or two. Blessed with a ton of talent and aggression, look for Chase to have a better year statistically than he did last season and possibly garner all-conference honors.

Chase's 2007 keys to success:

1. Be a consistent all around player. If Chase can continue the dominance he's shown on defense the past three years, the combination of his play and the help he'll get from the rest of the linebacking core should make the defense a pretty scary unit.

2. Improve on his 2006 stats. Last season wasn't a bad year for Chase, but it still probably wasn't up to his potential. With all the talent at linebacker, it may be even tougher this season for him to improve on his numbers. But Chase is the biggest starting linebacker this season, and with the kind of aggression fans have grown accustomed to seeing from him, he should post 55+ tackles and force a couple fumbles...if he plays the way we know he can.

Chase's 2006 season stats:

15 solo tackles, 29 assits, 44 total, 3 tackles for a loss, 0 sacks, 1 interception, 1 pass broken up and 1 fumble recovery

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