Losing one star linebacker is a tough thing for any team. Unfortunately for the Penn State Nittany Lions, they must replace two key linebackers from a season ago. Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges have both moved on to the NFL, leaving senior Glenn Carson as the only remaining starting linebacker.
It will be up to Carson to step up his game in 2013 and be a vocal leader among the Penn State linebackers. The fact that there will be new starters on both sides of him makes his presence even more important.
Carson brings a lot of experience, having seen action in every game since 2010.
During his sophomore season in 2011, he started 12 games, finishing fourth on the team with 74 total tackles. Last season, he started every game at middle linebacker and made 85 total tackles, which was good enough for third on the team. He also recorded one sack and was a solid presence in the middle of the Nittany Lions’ defense.
This season, the pressure will be on Carson to perform at a high level and replace the leadership that was provided by Mauti and Hodges. He will be counted on is set to have a big season.
It’s no secret that Penn State is usually referred to as “Linebacker U”. However, that may not be the case this season, as it may be the thinnest position on the depth chart.
Besides Carson, outside linebacker Mike Hull is the only other player with starting experience at the collegiate level, having started the final two games of 2012. Nyeem Wartman, who’s expected to start at the other outside spot, got injured in the second game of his freshman season last year and never returned. Ben Kline, a reserve linebacker, played in every game last season, but mainly on special teams.
With younger, inexperienced players around him, Carson is going to have to be the leader of the linebackers this season.