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New Wave of Griz Linebackers

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Perhaps the most key position to watch this year for the Griz will be at linebacker. After graduating three starters, all of which are hopeful to make an NFL roster, some big shoes will need to be filled.

"I know we will be one of the biggest questions marks heading into fall, we lost three great ones but I expect those guys to pick up the flag and roll," said Defensive Coordinator Ty Gregorak.

The group is inexperienced but looked great in the spring. Two of them, Kendrick Van Ackeren and Herbert Gamboa moved to the position after playing safety, while a handful of others played safety in high school.

"It helps us with speed, it helps us with recognizing run and pass with reading lineman because that's what you do at safety. That definitely is a plus for us, we are a bit smaller than last year obviously, but I mean the speed definitely makes up for it," said Griz Linebacker Kendrick Van Ackeren.

Coach Delaney says the reps the linebackers got together this spring will be crucial for their success early in the season.

"There are six guys who are good football players, so this has been a huge spring for them. I think they have both found out the can play at this level and start at this level if they keep doing the things they have," said Griz Head Coach Mick Delaney.

"I think the linebackers overall have done really good, we have a good group not a lot of us have starting experience or even playing experience but I think we're pretty good," said Freshman Linebacker Tucker Schye.

So do the new linebackers feel the pressure to live up to last years group?

"A little bit I guess, a lot of people are talking about that but we're not too worried about it we're just going to go out and play like we can play," said Schye.

The linebackers said this summer will also be crucial as they will spend a lot of time in the weight room trying to bulk up.
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