March 6, 2008

2007 Unit Rankings #6: LB

Duck Sports Authority continues its Spring Camp preparation with a final evaluation and ranking of the 2007 position units. Coming in at #6 in the unit rankings is Linebackers.

Season Unit Analysis: Linebackers

Summary Opinion: B Despite being hit hard by injuries, this unit still had the best improvement rating of the team and finished with a composite 'B' grade for the season. Integration of youth like Casey Matthews and Kevin Garrett proved critical to the success of the group, with John Bacon and A.J. Tuitele missing four and five games respectively. This was not a unit that got to the quarterback much, but performed well in coverage and was mostly sure with their tackles.

Key Players:

Jerome Boyd - JR - 79 tackles, 11 tfl, 3 sacks (21 yards), INT, FR, FF, 13 games - Steady at the Sam position, has the ability to do far more.

Kwame Agyeman - SR- 59 tackles, 10.5 tfl, 1 sacks (7 yards), 2 qbh, 13 games - Had a solid career for the Ducks, never became an impact player.

John Bacon - JR - 42 tackles, 1.5 tfl, INT (49 yards), 9 games - Had some good performances before injury.

A.J. Tuitele - SR - 31 tackles, 2 tfl, FR, 8 games - Could have been a playmaker had injuries allowed.

Kevin Garrett - SO - 21 tackles, 5.5 tfl, 1.5 sacks (9 yards), 3 qbh, 12 games - On his way up the depth charts with a solid sophomore campaign.

Casey Matthews - FR - 18 tackles, 4 tfl, sack (1 yard), 11 games - Looked good enough as a freshman to fight for a starting job.

Spencer Paysinger - RFR - 4 tackles, 13 games - Couldn't get past Boyd for playing time but was solid on special teams.

Key Statistics:

The yards per carry is a team statistic, but nonetheless reflects well on the discipline and tackling of this group. The sacks/game number is disappointing, but personnel will change for 2008 that will improve it. Tackles for loss is good and reminds us that the Ducks were good on the edges. The last two numbers included could have been higher, though keep in mind this unit has three players versus four for the other two units.

Yards per carry against: 3.6
Unit sacks/game: 0.6
Unit tackles for loss/game: 2.7
Unit tackles/game: 19.7
% unit tackles: 28

Season Improvement Rating: Steady Improvement (+0.09) This is a big tip of the helmet to Don Pellum, who kept a unit which lost two of three starters to injuries improving throughout the season. The unit did not perform well against Houston, got better against Michigan then again for Fresno State and Stanford. Their only poor performance during the rest of the season was against the Huskies. This unit also had by far the strongest group of performances of the team after Dennis Dixon went down, with a +0.11 trend in the last four games, with the next closest in that time frame being DB's at +0.01.

Best 2007 Game: USC A very active and balanced game for Don Pellum's unit in a defense-driven win over the Trojans that vaulted the Ducks to 7-1 and #4 in the nation. Kwame Agyeman and Jerome Boyd each had seven tackles with John Bacon adding five. Boyd, Bacon, Casey Matthews and Kevin Garrett each had a tackle for loss in the victory at Autzen Stadium.

Unit MVP: Jerome Boyd Boyd stayed healthy and put together a solid junior campaign to capture unit MVP honors. Jerome was the leading tackler for this unit in ten out of thirteen games and will provide experience and playmaking ability in 2008.

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