Sunday, December 18, 2011

December 18, 2011
This one was a much more difficult evaluation. I think the Duck linebackers will have more success against the Badgers offense than the Badger linebackers will against Oregon's offense. Nonetheless, the Wisconsin linebackers have had a huge statistical impact and have made a lot of plays this season.

Oregon: The Oregon Ducks lost two linebackers from the 2010 football team. Casey Matthews and Spencer Paysinger were the heart of the Oregon defense in a run to the National Championship game. After several good recruiting years, however, the Ducks still felt as if there would be little drop-off at the position. Going into the summer after the Spring Game, Michael Clay (5-11, 225) and Kiko Alonso (6-4, 240) had separated themselves from the group of outstanding linebackers. With starter Joshua Kaddu (6-3, 235) returning, Oregon entered the off-season with great hopes.

Just after Spring, though, Alonso was suspended from the team. During fall camp, the question of who would step into Alonso's shoes was on everyone's mind. Up stepped Dewitt Stuckey (5-11, 221) a senior from Stockton. Clay and Stuckey did not disappoint in the season opener against LSU. Clay notched 9 tackles and Stuckey...

Wisconsin: Wisconsin lost two starters from their 2010 squad including their leading tackler and third leading tackler. In a run dominated conference, losing two linebackers can be devastating. Nonetheless, the group the Badgers were bringing back were talented and well received. Mike Taylor (6-2, 230) would be the only returning starter in this group. The weakside linebacker had done enough as a sophomore to be named a third team all Big 10 last season. 2011 would see Taylor have a monster season.

Taylor's season started out good, but no indications of just how special it would be until a little later in the season. Through three games, Taylor had notched a respectable 14 tackles with 2 tackles for loss and 1 sack. After that, though, Taylor really started to excel. Against Ohio State, Taylor...

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