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August 3, 2011

Fall camp preview: Linebacker

Heading into the Big Ten Conference one position that will be called on more this year is linebacker. The Huskers will be forced to rely on defensive sets that feature three linebackers. Here is a complete fall camp preview of the linebacker position.

Biggest question: How will NU's LB's match-up?
One of the biggest questions for Nebraska heading into the Big Ten Conference is if they are equipped with the proper parts on defense to face off against some of the physical style offenses they'll see each week. In the Big 12 the Huskers featured a defense with primarily one linebacker on the field. In the Big Ten they will be in a base system with three linebackers. NU has the talent and experience at linebacker, but just seeing how they match-up week to week is still something we don't know the answer to.
What we know right now: There's a solid starting three
You have to love the starting three at linebacker the Huskers return in All-American senior Lavonte David, along with juniors Will Compton and Sean Fisher. The Huskers don't have much after their starting three, but having a group like this with experience in head coach Bo Pelini's defense should give Nebraska a big advantage as they make the transition into their new league.
Fresh fall camp faces: David Santos
Nebraska signed just one linebacker in their 2011 recruiting class, but you really have to like the potential David Santos brings to the table. I expect Santos to compete for a spot in the two-deep immediately and possibly groomed as a successor to David. Another newcomer to watch closely is walk-on freshman Derek Slaughter from Alabama. Word is he's had a good summer and will probably be a part of the 105 man roster, which is unheard of for most true freshman walk-on players.
Early camp prediction
The starting three is solid with David, Compton and Fisher. I look for both Santos and senior Mathew May to be in the two-deep and juniors Graham Stoddard and Alonzo Whaley should also be in the mix as well. However, I don't see a lot of substituting with this position group. I think the top three guys will see a majority of the games snaps.

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