Back on Tuesday we took a look at the status of the defensive backfield for 2008. Today, we continue that series with a look at who's returning at linebacker for UMass and try to guess what the coaching staff is thinking for this coming campaign. Remember I have no special inside information.
Freshman are green.
Sophomores are orange
Juniors are blue
Senior are red
I'm working out of the UMass depth chart for the Hofstra game. Teams are only allowed to dress 60 players for the playoffs, so the depth chart for the playoffs may have been different. Note that the class of the player is for fall of 2008 not their current status.
According to the last regular season depth chart:
-----Andy Resende-Gomes Redshirt Senior
WLB George Byrd Senior
------Josh Jennings Redshirt Junior
Other Linebackers currently on the roster are Emil Iqwenaqu, Anthony Rouzier, Chad Arango, Jason Grochowalski and Johnny Evens.
Discussion: It will be interesting to see how Brown deploys Josh Jennings. He's best in open space and I would speculate that his best position would be WLB---a position already occupied by George Byrd. Both Byrd and Jennings are fast, but not large. Putting them in the middle or over the TE probably would not use their talents to the best effect.
Rouzier is a good run stopper and probably is the leading candidate for MLB.
Darrlyn Fenner is listed as a LB on the roster, but he was moved to DE to back up David Burris. With Burris graduated, I would think Fenner would be in line to move up.
This is not a deep position for UMass. There were only two freshman LB last year (Evans and Iqwenaqu). Two other LB recruits, the highly touted Ryan Moreshead and JUCO Justin Halas, quit the team in the first week of practice.
I would not be surprised to see one or more BCS transfers brought in and I would think this would be a priority position for recruiting.