July 12, 2011

Preseason position breakdown; linebackers

Louisiana Tech's linebacker corps may have the best depth of any position on the team. With seniors slated as starters coming out of the spring all the way across things shape up nicely for this group.

Seniors Jay Dudley, Adrien Cole and Dusty Rust should start at weakside, middle and strongside linebacker respectively. Each of these positions has youth and experience in its depth from true freshmen to junior college transfers.

Starting on the weakside of course is what has become a staple on the Tech defense, Dudley. Dudley is long, lean, mean, and fast. At 6-3 225 pounds, Dudley is the prototypical size for a weakside linebacker at the collegiate level. Behind Dudley is junior college transfer Chip Hester and redshirt freshman Kevin Kisseberth. Hester stands 6-0 230 pounds and flies to the ball. His strength will help him shed blocks easily and make the tackle. Kisseberth is 6-1 225 pounds and possess the same attributes as Hester but is just a little slower than Hester. Expect Hester to solidify his position as Dudley's backup in the fall or early in the season. Kisseberth will need more experience before he can expect to over take Hester.

At middle linebacker is Cole. Cole has great instincts and easily steps into the hole and makes a tackle like a middle linebacker should. The only knock on Cole is his height. Standing a mere 5-11 he lacked that elite size the major colleges look for in a middle linebacker. If Cole were over 6 feet tall he would have gotten offers from all over the country to play middle linebacker. Weighing in at 250 pounds, Cole is a force to be reckoned with in the middle of the Tech linebackers. Behind Cole is another veteran, Solomon Randle. Randle, much like Cole, doesn't have the elite height (5-11) most look for in a linebacker but Randle is one of the smartest players on the Tech roster and shows it by being in the right place at all times when he is on the field.

Finally, Rust will start at strongside linebacker and faces he stiffest competition to possibly lose that job. With the likes of junior college transfer Antonio Mitchum and redshirt sophomore Rufus Porter behind him, Rust will be forced to work hard to keep his spot as starter. Rust stands 6-3 225 is strong as an ox and plays smart football. Much like Randle at middle linebacker, Rust is always in the right place. Mitchum and Porter may have more physical tools than Rust, but Rust has played every linebacker position for Tech and understands the defense as well as anyone, which gives him a leg up. Mitchum stands 6-1 and weighs 245 pounds. That 245 pounds makes him the heaviest linebacker on Tech's roster, but don't let that weight fool you he can fly. Porter is the lightest in weight, but is one of the strongest linebackers on the team. Porter also has great speed.

There are several true freshman that will give quality depth to the linebackers in 2011 in Warren Bates, Ty Hook and Beau Fitte. The biggest name of this bunch is Fitte, and not just because he has a brother on the team. Fitte was highly recruited and many experts were surprised Tech was able to sign him. It is unknown which outside linebacker position he will play for sure but weakside would be our guess. Bates should play strongside. Hook will be the third middle linebacker and he too may see some playing time.

The present is good for Tech at linebacker and the future may be even better.

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