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fourthandshort
Senior
Posts: 1529
Joined: Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:06 pm

Sat Aug 11, 2018 3:57 pm

So here is our LB roster (excl true FR ... give 'em time to beef up):

0 Paul Engram LB 5-11 225 JR
6 Tuvone Clark LB 6-2 250 JR
30 Josh Barajas LB 6-2 245 JR
32 Zeke Vandenburgh LB 6-3 235 FR
34 Connor Janes LB 6-2 250 JR
39 Zackary Mathews LB 6-1 240 SR
42 Dylan Draka LB 6-0 240 SO
47 DeMarco Washington LB 6-3 235 JR
50 Ty DeForest LB 6-0 250 JR
58 Decxavier Kelly-Martin LB 6-3 225 JR

And now .. this just in .. we heard this hinted at but it finally showed up on roster ...

95 Jason Harris 6-4 245 LB

So this is official, which pretty much confirms our base defense will be 3-4-4

Probable 4 starters .. too hard to narrow down .. but man we are stacked deep ... and wide. I always worry about team speed, but man we are going to be punishing runners.

Thoughts about starters .. anyone ???
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Chi-bird
Sophomore
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Sat Aug 11, 2018 5:00 pm

Great LB depth....which is what you need for a 3-4 defense. Harris might even have more sacks than the 3.5 he registered last year from the D-end spot.

Does that mean Swaine is 1st team D-end? Will Lewan or Podkulski be on the other end, opposite Romeo?

MadBird
Sophomore
Posts: 414
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Location: Madison, Wisconsin

Sat Aug 11, 2018 5:08 pm

First, I've moaned in the past from time to time about getting bigger LB's, and I got my wish. We've got some guys who should be able to deliver a shot, plug some holes, stuff some guys.

I'll say at this point, for starters, I'd go with Harris and Kelly-Martin on the outside, and Deforest and Clark on the inside. I'd say Clark is in for now but could be replaced - recent article seemed to me to say it's gonna take Barajas a little while to come around from injury, and if he does he might move in. Reports on Vandenburgh have been good, so he might be ready.

I'm guessing we'll see 6 for sure in the rotation, and maybe even 8 will get some decent PT.

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Total Red
Sophomore
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Joined: Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:42 pm

Sat Aug 11, 2018 5:35 pm

There's talent at LB'er but I'm not sure everybody is in the best place. Clark and Kelly-Martin might be our two best LB'ers but they play the same position (SAM). I'll hold further comments until after the next Saturday's scrimmage.

DaveBird10
Freshman
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Sun Aug 12, 2018 6:34 am

The article about the scrimmage in the pantagraph had Zach Matthews as the WILL linebacker. I'm guessing MIKE backer is Ty Deforest even tho I'd like to see Zeke Vandenburgh win that spot. SAM linebacker is between Tuvone Clark and Dec Kelly-Martin with the last backer as Jason Harris.

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ISUBU
Freshman
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Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:32 am

DaveBird10 wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 6:34 am
The article about the scrimmage in the pantagraph had Zach Matthews as the WILL linebacker. I'm guessing MIKE backer is Ty Deforest even tho I'd like to see Zeke Vandenburgh win that spot. SAM linebacker is between Tuvone Clark and Dec Kelly-Martin with the last backer as Jason Harris.

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I think DaveBird10 has it based upon the reports we're hearing. Washington and Barajas along with Vandenburgh and Clark/Kelly-Martin will likely round out the two deep. And I think we'll play those 8. And except for Vandenburgh who redshirted last year, all of these guys have seen the field in multiple games already.

fourthandshort
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Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:42 am

the other thing about all this LB size and depth .. should make for great special team coverage guys along the inside, along with all of our DBs on the outside .. and our DBs are also nice size .. mostly 6-0 to 6-2 and 190 to 210 lbs. This is the profile Spack seems to like.

back to LB group ... at this point, it is mainly a question of speed (and knowing your position well) if you go bigger. And several of these guys still need to prove themselves as starters .. so there's that unknown. But competition always makes the group better .. and they are going up against a very formidable run game in practice every day .. so they are being forced to learn to be starters on a fast track.

Don;t mean to dwell on this, but can't help but wonder .... what if Brannon Barry had stayed for 5th year and Tyree Horton had not been dismissed ... wow, the depth would have been incredible. Jason Harris would have stayed at DE maybe.
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fourthandshort
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Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:08 am

Chi-bird wrote:
Sat Aug 11, 2018 5:00 pm
Great LB depth....which is what you need for a 3-4 defense. Harris might even have more sacks than the 3.5 he registered last year from the D-end spot.

Does that mean Swaine is 1st team D-end? Will Lewan or Podkulski be on the other end, opposite Romeo?
Barry opting to graduate and Horton being dismissed could prove to be blessing in disguise for DE-turned-LB Jason Harris ... maybe Harris was struggling to add weight at DE .. 245 lbs is fine at FCS level, but not next level. His dad played college DE, but played for Bears as hybrid DE-LB at 250 lbs .. except that was 40 years ago .. 250 lb DE doesn't quite cut it at NFL level.

Maybe our Harris is better off not trying to put any more weight on his lean frame and just getting stronger/faster/more explosive at his current weight ??
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Chi-bird
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Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:26 am

fourthandshort wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:08 am
Chi-bird wrote:
Sat Aug 11, 2018 5:00 pm
Great LB depth....which is what you need for a 3-4 defense. Harris might even have more sacks than the 3.5 he registered last year from the D-end spot.

Does that mean Swaine is 1st team D-end? Will Lewan or Podkulski be on the other end, opposite Romeo?
Barry opting to graduate and Horton being dismissed could prove to be blessing in disguise for DE-turned-LB Jason Harris ... maybe Harris was struggling to add weight at DE .. 245 lbs is fine at FCS level, but not next level. His dad played college DE, but played for Bears as hybrid DE-LB at 250 lbs .. except that was 40 years ago .. 250 lb DE doesn't quite cut it at NFL level.

Maybe our Harris is better off not trying to put any more weight on his lean frame and just getting stronger/faster/more explosive at his current weight ??
Agree. By now, if he was going to bulk up and "look like a D-end", I think we would have seen it. He seems to have the body that if not playing football, would still worked out at a "normal" pace, he'd be long and lean. Even with the loss of Barry and Horton, going 3-4 makes so much sense based on what you have at linebacker, compared to on the line. I still have to think that Harris lines up as one of the 3 down lineman during passing downs. (Thus, if he's actually a linebacker, then we'll have 5 linebackers on the field during 3rd and longs, Nickel, etc.). I just don't see enough pass rushing on the line. Third and long, I could see these 4 at the line of scrimmage: Romeo (move inside), Swaine, Harris, and Barajas???

It should be interesting to see what our front 7 will look like, personnel-wise on 1st and 10 early in the season.

fourthandshort
Senior
Posts: 1529
Joined: Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:06 pm

Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:38 am

Chi-bird wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:26 am
fourthandshort wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:08 am
Chi-bird wrote:
Sat Aug 11, 2018 5:00 pm
Great LB depth....which is what you need for a 3-4 defense. Harris might even have more sacks than the 3.5 he registered last year from the D-end spot.

Does that mean Swaine is 1st team D-end? Will Lewan or Podkulski be on the other end, opposite Romeo?
Barry opting to graduate and Horton being dismissed could prove to be blessing in disguise for DE-turned-LB Jason Harris ... maybe Harris was struggling to add weight at DE .. 245 lbs is fine at FCS level, but not next level. His dad played college DE, but played for Bears as hybrid DE-LB at 250 lbs .. except that was 40 years ago .. 250 lb DE doesn't quite cut it at NFL level.

Maybe our Harris is better off not trying to put any more weight on his lean frame and just getting stronger/faster/more explosive at his current weight ??
Agree. By now, if he was going to bulk up and "look like a D-end", I think we would have seen it. He seems to have the body that if not playing football, would still worked out at a "normal" pace, he'd be long and lean. Even with the loss of Barry and Horton, going 3-4 makes so much sense based on what you have at linebacker, compared to on the line. I still have to think that Harris lines up as one of the 3 down lineman during passing downs. (Thus, if he's actually a linebacker, then we'll have 5 linebackers on the field during 3rd and longs, Nickel, etc.). I just don't see enough pass rushing on the line. Third and long, I could see these 4 at the line of scrimmage: Romeo (move inside), Swaine, Harris, and Barajas???

It should be interesting to see what our front 7 will look like, personnel-wise on 1st and 10 early in the season.
agree 100% ... biggest concern with this group is will we put pressure on QB from DL group ?? I'm hoping a healthy Swaine (6'7" 245 lb) this year and transfer DE Romeo McKnight (6'5" 240 lbs) are able to create some pressure on passing downs ... not sure about sacks, but guessing a lot of batted balls. Sacks will have to come from LBers and then DB blitz.
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DaveBird10
Freshman
Posts: 143
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Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:50 am

ISUBU wrote:
DaveBird10 wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 6:34 am
The article about the scrimmage in the pantagraph had Zach Matthews as the WILL linebacker. I'm guessing MIKE backer is Ty Deforest even tho I'd like to see Zeke Vandenburgh win that spot. SAM linebacker is between Tuvone Clark and Dec Kelly-Martin with the last backer as Jason Harris.

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I think DaveBird10 has it based upon the reports we're hearing. Washington and Barajas along with Vandenburgh and Clark/Kelly-Martin will likely round out the two deep. And I think we'll play those 8. And except for Vandenburgh who redshirted last year, all of these guys have seen the field in multiple games already.
Yes that is correct based off of what I have been reading/hearing. My only concern is will we have speed? With big backers and ridgeway at nose being 325lb we will be huge, so stopping tge run should work. But do we have speed?

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RedbirdSF67
Freshman
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:34 pm

Sun Aug 12, 2018 12:00 pm

This Jason Harris change is probably not much of a change, he was Jack before, and pretty much will play the same as an OLB. Asked to drop back on occasion.

Here is more on a true 3-4 https://www.google.com/amp/s/syndicatio ... t.amp.html

Big question is if the defense is 1gap or 2gap. Can a new crew of Dlineman handle a 2gap? Or do we start the season as 1gap where the front 7 all have a gap assignment? I think we start simple (Spack said things are simpler) and go 2gap giving the LBers more freedom. Puts a lot of pressure on Ridgeway and the ends, but he's big enough to where he could even recover from some mistakes. Makes sense since we are heavy on LBers.

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TIMMY
Junior
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Location: 1050 W Addison

Sun Aug 12, 2018 2:07 pm

Could see nose 2 gap and 5 tech ends 1 gap. Then take big turd out in nickle.
Image

fourthandshort
Senior
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Joined: Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:06 pm

Sun Aug 12, 2018 2:15 pm

thread drift coming ... is Ridgeway a lock at NT ?? Love his Bio .. always like to see these 4 sport ahtletic lineman types, especially when they also wrestled .. plus played both sides of line. Signed at 285 lbs, rostered as FR at same 285, and now reportedly 325. I do wonder how well he will move at that weight and having not seen field yet.

But he was 4 sports, so got to have some footwork skillls .. football, wrestling (state champ), track & field , and .... uh .. oh, bass fishing.

"Bloomington HS: Three-time varsity letterwinner for football under coaches Rigo Schmelzer and Joe Walters … All Big-12 offensive line selection and all-state defensive line selection in 2017 … Four-year letterwinner in wrestling, winning the Illinois state championship title in 2017 after placing fourth at the championships in 2016 … Competed in the shot put and discus during his sophomore and senior years … Named Bloomington High School’s Athlete of the Year in 2017 … Also participated in Bass Fishing as a freshman."
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Total Red
Sophomore
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Sun Aug 12, 2018 2:28 pm

RedbirdSF67 wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 12:00 pm
This Jason Harris change is probably not much of a change, he was Jack before, and pretty much will play the same as an OLB. Asked to drop back on occasion.

Here is more on a true 3-4 https://www.google.com/amp/s/syndicatio ... t.amp.html
YES thank you - little change for Jack LB'er Jason Harris (from DE) so these descriptions of the 3-4 may be confusing because as we play it the Jack is not an inside LB'er position. He'll play on the line to the outside and drop back on occasion as you describe. Harris is backed by Guhl at the Jack who is also good at coming across the LOS and creating havoc with Barajas trying to stay healthy long enough to make his presence felt.

In response to 4th - YES Ridgeway is a lock at Nose Tackle. Don't worry about his movement. He moves well enough and more importantly he'll move whatever is in front of him. Did you hear Coach Spack? Ridgeway will demand a double team and he should be insulted if he doesn't get it and he needs to make the offense pay if they don't. All smiles about this one :D

fourthandshort
Senior
Posts: 1529
Joined: Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:06 pm

Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:26 am

Total Red wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 2:28 pm
RedbirdSF67 wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 12:00 pm
This Jason Harris change is probably not much of a change, he was Jack before, and pretty much will play the same as an OLB. Asked to drop back on occasion.

Here is more on a true 3-4 https://www.google.com/amp/s/syndicatio ... t.amp.html
YES thank you - little change for Jack LB'er Jason Harris (from DE) so these descriptions of the 3-4 may be confusing because as we play it the Jack is not an inside LB'er position. He'll play on the line to the outside and drop back on occasion as you describe. Harris is backed by Guhl at the Jack who is also good at coming across the LOS and creating havoc with Barajas trying to stay healthy long enough to make his presence felt.

In response to 4th - YES Ridgeway is a lock at Nose Tackle. Don't worry about his movement. He moves well enough and more importantly he'll move whatever is in front of him. Did you hear Coach Spack? Ridgeway will demand a double team and he should be insulted if he doesn't get it and he needs to make the offense pay if they don't. All smiles about this one :D
thanks TR and this is encouraging news. I have always felt like we would be ok with at DE .. I was most concerned about DT/NT plugging things up in the middle. Also starting to feel much better about our LB group despite losing Holm, Horton, and Barry. Still some questions about secondary .. but Brees should be very good, and it's great we got Luther Kirk back .. we'll see about the rest, but we certainly have he bodies .. and nice size for that position group too.

Our special teams coverage groups should be pretty to very good .. lot of nice depth and size at LB and DB.
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