JHoo’s Summer Reading: Linebackers

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Things that make Al Groh happy … let me see, how many can I list? His family certainly. A game with no turnovers or penalties. Yes, that will make him teary eyed. His music, absolutely. Film review after a big win has to be on the list. Let me see … anything else I am forgetting? Oh, yes, a quality depth chart at linebacker.

On that last point, Groh should be awfully happy going into this season. And Mike London? He will be downright giddy. In fact, I continue to believe that the biggest issues the staff will face with the linebackers this season will not be the talent, but how to get all of the talent – particularly the young speed – onto the field and how best to use them. Those questions underscore any discussion of the individual linebackers.

The Starters

At outside linebacker, Clint Sintim and Jermaine Dias ; at inside linebacker, Jon Copper and Antonio Appleby .

Clint Sintim seems poised for a strong season.

Starting on the outside, Clint Sintim is a player that many Hoo fans thought would have a breakout season in 2006. In fact, I heard several fans that closely follow the program predict a double-digit sack season for Sintim, and no one was guffawing at those predictions at the time. But that breakout season did not come to pass, and Hoo fans were left wondering why, particularly since the defense played well enough as a group to give Sintim individual opportunities to shine.

Unfortunately, injuries played a key role in the season Sintim had, as he was nagged by an assortment of bumps and bruises – and worse – from very early in the season on. Plus, it was clear that Sintim wore down over the course of individual games and over the course of the season as a result of the significant number of snaps he spent on the field (a subject unto itself, and one discussed in greater detail below).

Still, Sintim had his flashes