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March 28, 2013
Spring Preview: Linebackers
MORE: Spring Camp HQ
Entering his first season as a full time linebacker coach at Oregon State, Trent Bray will look to solidify his unit and build solid back ups for the season. The outside is well manned with team tackle leader Michael Doctor and D.J. Alexander returning to their starting spots. Middle linebacker is another story as the Beavers will look for a replacement for the graduated Feti Unga.
RETURNING CONTRIBUTORS & KEY LOSSES
Feti Unga is the biggest loss for the linebacker unit. Unga accounted for 155 total tackles in his career, and added one interception, two sacks and two pass deflections.
Michael Doctor and DJ Alexander are two very important returners for the defense as a whole.
QUESTION HEADING INTO CAMP
Who is going to step up and be the Beavers middle linebacker. Most believe that Joel Skotte will be the guy, but after him, there are three athletes looking to make an impact. Josh Williams and Jaswha James have both have experience in the Beavers system, but don't count redshirt freshman Rommel Mageo out just yet.
While the outside is shored up nicely, the Beavers will be looking for back-ups. Freshman Caleb Saulo was one true freshman who almost didn't redshirt this fall. He is a talent and should push the veterans this spring. Jabral Johnson is another very talented athlete who has seen time on special teams and could prove to be a valuable back-up this year.
The pressure is on junior Shaydon Akuna. Plagued by injuries, could this be the year that he is able to put everything together and see playing time? He was nearly unstoppable as a prep. After three years in the program, it is now or never for him to show the coaches that he can be productive. He is still listed as an outside backer, but at 258, he is the largest linebacker of the group. Maybe a try in the middle is in order.