March 7, 2013

Spring preview: Linebackers

Glenn Spencer had the "co-" removed from one of his titles this offseason and will serve as Oklahoma State's solo defensive coordinator this spring and fall. Spencer's position group responsibilities have not changed, and he has a deep and experienced group of linebackers to work with this spring. His entire two-deep returns for spring football, save for one departed senior starter. Experimental position moves in the spring could affect those numbers somewhat, but the linebacking corps is in good shape.

Key losses: Weakside LB Alex Elkins

Key returnees: SR STAR LB Shaun Lewis, SR MLB Caleb Lavey, JR STAR LB Lyndell Johnson, Soph MLB Ryan Simmons, SR WLB Joe Mitchell

Elkins and his 165 tackles over two seasons are a big loss, but Spencer certainly has the talent available to find a suitable replacement this spring. One position move the Cowboys are expected to try this spring is moving Simmons over from his backup spot in the middle and into the starting spot at weakside 'backer. That should come as a relief to fans who clamored for Simmons to play more in his redshirt freshman season. Mitchell and sophomore Demarcus Sherrod also got playing experience last season at WLB.

Sean Lewis is the 2013 squad's most experienced player, having started the last 32 games at the STAR linebacker spot. Johnson spent last season backing up Lewis and being used as a passing down specialist at the position. This spring, Johnson is expected to be given a look at a starting safety spot. In that event, Mitchell - who was listed as a second-stringer at both WLB and STAR at times last season - could...

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