March 20, 2012
Pre-spring analysis: LB
Pre-spring unit analysis: Linebacker
The linebacker group entered the 2011 season in tough shape. Casey Matthews and Spencer Paysinger graduated, with both players subsequently making NFL rosters. Michael Clay was the lone starter returning on the unit, although Josh Kaddu and DeWitt Stuckey had seen action.
2011 unit grade: 2.83 (0 to 4) Considering how little experience returned from 2010, linebacker coach Don Pellum's unit performed well. Coupled to that were injuries to unit-leading Michael Clay and DeWitt Stuckey which caused them to miss games, Clay early in the season, Stuckey towards the end. Freshmen Anthony Wallace and Rodney Hardrick both got into games instead of redshirting in part due to these injuries.
2011 improvement trend: 5 of 8 All of Oregon's eight units had positively-sloped grade trend lines for the 2011 season which was the first time that has happened in the five years DSA has done unit game grades. The fact that the LB group finished fifth in the bunch is no indication of their play as much as the fact they tied the DL as the highest-graded unit against LSU in the season-opener, thus skewing the trend.
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