Armchair Analysis: Linebackers

armchair-quarterbackBy: Harvey Birdman

Observations from my La-Z-Boy armchair on the linebackers.

It’s been said numerous times when analyzing this year’s version of the Auburn Tigers, that barring a rash of injuries, the first teamers should be able to line up with just about anybody.  Lack of depth seems to be the catch phrase for 2009 and no truer words were ever spoken in reference to the linebacking corp.  Following Spring practice and the fall camp reports, it appears the starters will be:

Josh Bynes 6’2″ 239

Craig Stevens 6’3″ 223

Eltoro Freeman 5’11” 222

Bynes and Stevens have a wealth of experience and Freeman, an original signee and JUCO transfer, comes in with all the stars and hype anyone could ever want in a player.  Recent reports have him sidelined temporarily with a cast on his hand and hamstring problem.  However, if the reports on his play are to be believed, Freeman could wind up being the player Auburn thought it was getting in the “Little Ball of Hate”.

Last year, when Blackmon was hit with the latest in a long line of nagging injuries and off-field problems, Josh Bynes got his opportunity to step into the limelight.  After only a few games, it became apparent that his name was being called on virtually every play around the line of scrimmage.  The man was consistent and seemingly in on every play.  While we watched and waited for Blackmon to produce Superman, highlite reel plays…Josh Bynes was steadily making tackle after tackle.  And, at 240 lbs. he’s got the size in the middle that Auburn hasn’t had in…well, forever.

After these 3, things tend to get a bit sketchy.  Part time player in 08′, Spencer Pybus, came into camp bulked up to 215 but concussion problems have sidelined him the entire month and he may just now be ready to get back to practice. Pybus is a guy I truly believe could make a huge name for himself at Auburn if he remains healthy.  Unbelievably strong for his size, he’s that guy everyone overlooked out of high school and signed as an afterthought.  When you look at his stats from his senior year at 6A Northview, you realize this kid had 80 bwazzillion tackles and wonder why he wasn’t more highly recruited.  True freshman, Harris Gaston, at 6’1″ 219 has been getting multiple reps in the preseason.  He’s the type of player that while talented, you’d love to redshirt and let him grow and learn.  Auburn does not have that luxury.  They have also been trying 6’4″ 220 DE Dee Ford at LB due to the attrition problem but recent reports have him moving back to the end position.

Adam Herring was also counted on to step into a back up roll but injuries have made him a non-factor as well.  So, who does Auburn have to fall back on should the injury bug hit any of the above?

Wade Christopher 6’1″ 215

Watson Downs 6′ 219

Ashton Richardson 6′ 190

I think light contact until the Sept. 5th opener might just be in order.  Thoughts?

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