Too Close to Call at Linebacker
Aug. 13, 2010
CHARLOTTESVILLE — At one of the outside linebacker spots in UVa’s 4-3 defense, LaRoy Reynolds appears close to locking up a starting job, if he hasn’t already.
Elsewhere among the linebackers, however, things are hazier.
At the other outside spot, junior Jared Detrick and sophomore Ausar Walcott are battling to be No. 1.
“They’re splitting reps right now,” head coach Mike London said before practice Thursday. “No one has a clear-cut [lead], and both of them realize that. So competition makes for better competition, and it makes for getting them better as players.
“We’ll continue to evaluate those guys and see where they’re at. They may split reps 50-50 in the game. Who knows? They’re going to have to play a lot of special teams. We like our linebackers to be involved with special teams, because they’re run-and-hit guys. It’s what they do. So they’ll get plenty of reps in the game, for sure.”
At middle linebacker, junior Aaron Taliaferro continues to practice primarily with the first team, but sophomore Steve Greer rotates in and is pushing hard for the starting job.
“The competition for that position is probably going to go until the” week of the Sept. 4 opener against Richmond, London said.
In the 3-4 scheme that the Wahoos used last year, Greer was one of the starting inside linebackers, and he led the team in tackles. He missed most of spring practice this year with a high-ankle sprain, however, and Taliaferro capitalized on Greer’s absence.
But Greer is healthy again, and “he’s a very smart player,” London said. “He gets lined up, he knows the defenses. He reminds me of [former UVa standout] Jon Copper a little bit. You might have a more talented guy, but he was always going to find a way through film study, through whatever it took, to get on the field.”