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Wednesday
Sep142005

All America linebackers

Last weekend, Ohio State's A.J. Hawk cemented what will be a unanimous selection to the various All-America teams, recording 12 tackles, an interception, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery against Vince Young and the Texas Longhorns, going great lengths to slow down Young's great running ability.

The showcase game against a big-name foe is all that's needed for many players to get AA attention---remember, awards are determined by the public's perception of a player's contribution on the field, coupled with various types of attention (magazine covers, interviews, being quotable, etc.).

This weekend, UCLA's Spencer Havner may cement the second unanimous All America linebacker spot, just three weeks into the season.  I say may, because I don't know how the game will turn out.  But, a lot of things are working his way.  The Bruins are playing at home against a reeling Oklahoma team.  The Sooners have looked anemic on offense, particularly throwing the ball, and did not attempt a pass in the second half in a close game against a very bad Tulsa team last weekend.

It's reasonable to expect the Sooners to continue to rely heavily on their ground attack and superstar back Adrian Peterson.  If so, Havner could very likely exceed 20 tackles and make a ton of highlight shows.  Think about it, Peterson is hurt, so he's not at 100%, and may not even play a lot of this game.  His offensive line has a bunch of new starters, and is pretty soft to begin with.  They'll be going up against a similarly soft and porous UCLA defensive front.

To me, these factors scream 20 tackles for Havner.  He's got a great nose for the ball and with the way the UCLA defensive line has been playing Matador football lately, Oklahoma's backs may be falling right into his lap for much of the game.

Of course, the game could go completely different, if Oklahoma wants to catch the Bruins off-guard and somehow repair their aerial attack in one week's time.  Either way, a UCLA win and a bonanza of tackles should do wonders for Havner's All America campaign. 

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