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Saturday, January 10, 2015

What Must Happen: Linebacker

Former Auburn coach Pat Dye. photographer unknown

This position has been a point of contention, since the days that Josh Bynes, and Craig Stevens roamed Pat Dye Field inside Jordan Hare Stadium. 

It is this writers belief that there has not been a shortage of talent on the team at LB, just a lack of proper technique. The subject has been talked about by almost every facet of the Auburn faithful, from the knowledgeable football nerd to the casual observer. It's easy to blame the players, especially when the same mistakes crop up year over year. 

Consider this: Auburn has hired a total of 4 Defensive Coordinators since the hiring of Gene Chizik in 2009. Four different philosophies, four different emphasis patterns, and four different sets of terminologies. 

Auburn's two leading LB's for 2015 will have played for 3 of them. Kris Frost, and Cassanova McKinzy each contributed in their Freshmen seasons under Brian VanGorder. 

With the introduction of Ellis Johnson, our Linebackers were now cut to 2 most of the time on the field. This proved to be an inefficient style of play. 

So, now we usher in the Will Muschamp era. As of this writing Auburn has not named a coach at this position. 

With both Frost, and McKinzy returning for their Senior seasons, the expectations are that play in this unit will become much improved.

The returning players already on the roster are listed below with this seasons class designation. They are:

Cassanova McKinzy, JR
JaViere Mitchell, SO
Kris Frost, JR
Justin Garrett, JR
Tre' Williams, FR
Kenny Flowers, JR
Daniel Pond, JR
Anthony Swain, JR
Cameron Toney, RS FR
Deshaun Davis, FR
Josh Shockley, FR
Michael Clifton, SO

The most important thing that stands out to me is that Auburn will graduate six players from this position at the end of 2015. That is a very high amount considering there are only 12 listed at this position, and there will be a minimum of a 6 man rotation. 

Another important factor is with the hiring of Will Muschamp, everybody has a clean slate. They are all trying out for the three positions, and the respective rotations. While every position is equally important, this will be the most interesting defensive position to watch and see who emerges as the season nears.

WAR EAGLE!
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