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BSD Spring Practice Roundtable - Part II

Posluszny to Connor, Connor to Lee, Lee to Bowman...who is next in line to be King of the Linebackers at Linebacker U?

KevinHD - Mike Mauti, although I'm not sure he's going to live up to the lineage, which is nothing to be ashamed of necessarily.  The three guys mentioned above weren't just great linebackers, they were excellent linebackers and (mostly) great leaders.  I expect the linebackers to play more as a group, and while that's not as SportsCenter friendly, I expect him to be the face of whatever happens next.

FTG - I'm a big Mike Hull fan.  I got the chance to see him on several occasions in high school and he has the potential to be a tackling machine.  He hits hard and plays smart, and that's exactly what Penn State expects out of its linebackers.  With three starters to replace, don't be surprised to see Hull in the mix early on and make some solid plays.  He comes from a section of the WPIAL that has placed a team in the state AAAA final in three of the last five years, so he's used to the big stage.  For him, it's just a matter of growing into the college game.

Mike - I'm going to say Nate Stupar. I really liked him on special teams in 2008, and I thought he was going to claim that third linebacker spot along with Lee and Bowman in 2009 after Mauti went down. Little did we know Josh Hull was going to be so good. But I was still disappointed that he didn't get much playing time when Bowman and Lee were struggling with their injuries. It turns out he suffered a pretty bad ankle sprain that nagged him all season. This year I think he's going to lock down the weakside linebacker spot and be a solid player.

Junny - Mike Mauti. If it were not for the ACL tear last year, this would not even be a question. Mauti was set to inherit this standing before the injury, and assuming he has come back 100%, there is no reason to suggest anything less is in store this year. As a special teams player two years ago, Mauti was regularly busting heads and leading the coverage with a vengeance. Channeling that into a linebacker position equals unfortunate news for opposing quarterbacks and running backs.

RUTS - Mike Mauti.  He was penciled in as a starter last year, before the Penn State ACL bug bit him and forced Josh Hull back into the lineup (which didn't work out all that terribly, did it?).  Mauti even looked great in his 2008 spot duty when he received some playing time after Hull and some other linebackers were shuffled/benched.  Penn State will need Mauti to be 100% as quickly as possible -- there's no Sean Lee or Navorro Bowman to clean up mistakes this season.  I'm also hoping for great things out of Nathan Stupar, who alternated between brilliant and clueless at various points last season.  He'll need to become more consistent.