March 25, 2013

Spring competing: LB

AUBURN | Defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson has said his 4-2-5 scheme, which he'll be installing later this week, isn't as revolutionary as it sounds.

It's simply a 4-3 with one less linebacker and one additional safety.

Yet that subtle alteration will elicit some important changes to the linebackers' responsibilities. Johnson wants both players -- technically one middle 'backer and one weak-side 'backer -- to excel at getting off blocks and mitigating so-called garbage along the line of scrimmage to make a play.

Linebackers typically rely on linemen to capture blockers' attention, which often clears a path to the ball. Johnson instead wants quicker linemen who can attack the ball-carrier and heavier linebackers who can handle a wider range of tasks.

"(The new system) puts a little more pressure on the linebackers," he said. "That's why we get away with the 230s, the 240s in there -- as long as they're good enough to make a tackle in space."

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