February 9, 2009

Unit No. 8: Linebackers

Duck Sports Authority kicks off its pre-Spring coverage with a look at the 2008 units and how they stacked up against each other. Coming in at #8 in the 2008 ranking was Oregon's youngest group: Linebackers.

Summary: C+

Linebackers coach Don Pellum was dealt a tough hand this year. Going into the season, one of his top players was to be Kevin Garrett, who had shown flashes of brilliance in 2007. Garrett was excused from the team leaving Pellum scrambling to find his best three. At MLB, incumbent John Bacon got the call early but was beat out by Casey Matthews halfway through the season. This unit played a key role in the stout Oregon run defense, but displayed its youth with breakdowns in the passing game. Defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti added a simplified package to his defense this year largely to aid this unit.

Unit MVP: Spencer Paysinger

Paysinger took over the Sam position and never looked back. Paysinger had the second highest tackle total on the team behind T.J. Ward, and averaged about a tackle for loss per game. Paysinger was the only linebacker with an interception in 2008 and had two of them, returning one 70 yards for a touchdown.

Unit contributors

SOPH Spencer Paysinger 13 GP, 95 tackles, 12 tfl 25 yards, 2 sacks, 2 int, 6 breakups
SR Jerome Boyd 13 GP, 80 tackles, 7.0 tfl 34 yards, 3 sacks, 5 breakups, 1 forced fumble
SOPH Casey Matthews 13 GP, 67 tackles, 13.0 tfl 44 yards, 2 sacks, 2 breakups
SR John Bacon 10 GP, 18 tackles, 2.5 tfl 7 yards,
FR Eddie Pleasant 12 GP, 16 tackles, 2 breakups, 1 forced fumble
JR Riley Showalter 13 GP, 10 tackles, 1 breakup
FR Garrett Embry 13 GP, 9 tackles
FR Josh Kaddu 6 GP, 5 tackles
FR Brandon Hanna 4 GP, 4 tackles
FR Terrance Pritchett 3 GP, 3 tackles, 1 breakup

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