Hoo Preview 2010: Linebackers

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As a redshirt freshman, Steve Greer logged 757 plays.

When you look at the Virginia football team, two positions jump out more than any other as complete unknowns: the offensive line and the linebackers. With new coaches in town, no one is sure how those two units will adapt to the changes with the new offensive and defensive schemes being installed.

At least the O-Line has some experience, though. Despite moving from four linebackers to just three, the linebacking corps features a host of new faces on the depth chart. Outside of sophomore Steve Greer , none of the new names have any significant in-game experience on defense, meaning most of the likely contributors this year have no track record of proven production. Who can make plays? Who can pile up tackles? Who can match up in pass coverage? No one can be certain about what to expect.

Sophomore LaRoy Reynolds, a safety convert, is optimistic about the group’s ability to learn and generate plays, though.

“I think we’re going to be able to make plays. We have great coaching and great leaders on defense and that allows us to be confident and be confident in the things we do best,” Reynolds said. “I think with guys like Greer helping us out and watching film and constantly getting better, I think we’re going to be able to make plays out there.”

Greer, who Reynolds mentioned, is the logical place to start when discussing the linebackers. He is, after all, the only one with any significant amount of experience in the entire corps. In his redshirt freshman season a year ago, Greer saw action on 757 plays – that’s nearly four times more snaps than any other linebacker has played in his career. Greer made the most of the playing time and led the team in tackles with 92. He’s an intelligent player that understands the reads required to play in the middle of the defense; as Reynolds hinted, he’s also a noted film watcher. Greer is excited to be switching to a 4-3 defense this season because he believes it will give the middle linebacker more freedom to attack the offense.