August 1, 2006

Suspensions shake up depth chart at linebacker

Auburn heads into the 2006 season with a lot of talent, depth and experience at the linebacker position. And that depth will be put to the test quickly after the suspension of two potential starters.

But even with senior Kevin Sears and redshirt freshman Tray Blackmon suspended for what head coach Tommy Tuberville termed a "considerable" number of games, linebacker coach James Willis expects his unit to produce at a high level.

"When one goes down, another has to step up," said Willis. "No matter if it's a suspension or injuries, you're going to have that during the season."

With Sears sitting out, the expected battle between him and Karibi Dede for the starting Mike linebacker position is over before it started. A senior, Dede brings a lot of experience to the position having played in 38 career games including 19 starts.

Willis is counting on Dede to be a leader on the field.

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