March 7, 2007

Spring Preview: LB

Texas A&M was famous once upon a time for the linebackers that Aggieland produced for the NFL. Those were the days of the 3-4 Wrecking Crew defense, but nowadays the Wrecking Crew is trying to have a resurgence under the 4-2-5.

Call it a change of offensive philosophies, if you will, that has forced the change. With so many spread offenses in the Big 12 conference and across the nation, a premium is on defensive backs and putting a lot of them on the field for every snap.

But A&M is starting to see a resurgence at linebacker as well. Junior college transfers Misi Tupe and Mark Dodge reminded many of the old speedsters that could lay the wood all over Kyle Field.

After recording 54 tackles, four for a loss, one sack, two pass breakups and two pass fumble recoveries, Tupe earned the Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year. Dodge, on the other hand, came on strong late in the season with 17 tackles and an interception against Oklahoma, five tackles against Texas and eight tackles in the Holiday Bowl against California.

Dodge truly made his mark, however, with a game-clinching interception in Austin to preserve A&M's 12-7 win over Texas.

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