OSU Preview Linebacker

Thursday, May 26th 2011, 1:26 pm
By: News On 6

Originally Published: Sep 1, 2010 8:21 PM CDT

Even though the Cowboys lost three starters at linebacker in Andre Sexton, Donald Booker and Patrick Lavine, the position was one of the deepest spots on the roster heading into the season.<BR/>But a knee injury to Tolu Moala, an achilles injury to Kenny Alexander and an elbow injury to Caleb Lavey have made depth an issue at the position.<BR/>Lets start with returning senior Orie Lemon.&#160; A year ago he was ready to play for All Big 12 honors as the returning middle linebacker in Bill Youngs new defense.&#160; But Lemon suffered a season-ending knee injury in practice during the week leading up to the opener and his 2009 season ended before it even got started.&#160; Lemon is back, healthy and playing with a chip on his shoulder.&#160; Hell be backed up by one of the most interesting prospects on the roster in Tyler Johnson.&#160; Johnson is a native of Haskell, Oklahoma who spent 6 seasons playing professional baseball.&#160; He has turned more than a few heads during the weeks leading up to the season.&#160; Johnson is raw, but theres a good chance he will play in the opener on Saturday.<BR/>At weakside linebacker, the Cowboys have Justin Gent who saw significant playing time last season.&#160; Hard-hitting freshman LeRon Furr will back him up.<BR/>And at the star linebacker spot junior James Thomas will start.&#160; Hell be backed up by two freshmen in Shaun Lewis and Joe Mitchell.&#160; Mitchell was in camp with the Cowboys last season, but officials became concerned about a high school clearance issue and Mitchell was sent home to Houston.&#160; Now, hes back and fighting for playing time.<BR/>Among the Cowboy linebackers, only Lemon and Gent have seen significant playing time, so that is a concern for linebackers coach Glenn Spencer.&#160; <BR/>The schedule is easy enough for the youngsters to gain experience and confidence before things get serious against Texas A&amp;M September 30th.&#160; <BR/>OSU is much-improved in the talent department over the last three years and that can really be seen at the linebacker spot.&#160; Now, its up to these young Cowboys to go out and grow up quickly.<BR/>