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2011 BCS Champ. Position Breakdown - LBs
Auburn LB Josh Bynes
Auburn LB Josh Bynes
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 7, 2011


The position-by-position breakdown of the 2011 BCS Championship - Linebackers

2011 BCS Champ. Breakdown

Auburn vs. Oregon - Linebackers

- CFN 2011 BCS Championship Preview  
- CFN 2009 BCS Championship Breakdown - Florida vs. Oklahoma   
- CFN 2010 BCS Championship Breakdown - Alabama vs. Texas

CFN 2011 BCS CHAMPIONSHIP POSITION BREAKDOWN

- Quarterbacks | Running Backs
- Receivers | Offensive Lines
- Defensive Lines | Linebackers
- Secondaries | Special Teams | Coaches

By Pete Fiutak

Auburn : In several areas, like the lines, quarterback, and even running back with Michael Dyer and receiver with Darvin Adams and Terrell Zachery, Auburn has a size advantage. One of the keys to the game will be the ability of Oregon to deal with the weight issue, needing to use its speed, quickness, and athleticism to get by. This isn’t one of those areas. Going back to the Tommy Tuberville era, Auburn has gone with smallish, beefed-up safety-sized linebackers and turned them loose behind talented lines. This year’s veteran linebacking corps isn’t small, but it isn’t bulky. That’s a great thing for a game like this against an offense like Oregon’s.

235-pound Josh Bynes is the leading tackler in the middle with 71 stops on the year after making 104 last season. He doesn’t miss an open field stop and he’s the physical presence in the middle of the corps putting up big numbers when things are funneled his way. With great range, he can get to the ball, too, but he’s not a big playmaker in the backfield; he uses his athleticism more in pass coverage. While not as physical as Bynes, 6-4, 229-pound senior Craig Stevens has been a great running mate on the left side, making 57 stops on the year. Those two are linebackers, while 5-11, 203-pound sophomore Daren Bates is part safety, part linebacker, but wherever he plays he doesn’t miss tackles. However, he’s not built for punishment, missing time this year with a shoulder injury.

Oregon
: This may be one area where Auburn beats Oregon on athleticism, quickness and range … but not by a lot. The Tigers have a very good, veteran group that swarms around the ball and is great at getting into the backfield, but the Ducks have the experience factor on their side with a wily pair of great linebackers to go along with some nice young up-and-coming players. The key here will be the relative size advantage, and while it’s not by a whole bunch, considering the smallish Duck line and the 250-pound load Cam Newton brings, being able to hold up for a full sixty minutes shouldn’t be a problem for this crew.

The defense is full of veterans, but seniors Casey Matthews and Spencer Paysinger are the unquestioned leaders with the two combining for 70 career starts and 100 games played. The 6-2, 235-pound Matthews was a First Team All-Pac 10 performer making a team-leading 73 stops this season and doing a little of everything else well on the inside. Tailor-made for the middle, he’s instinctive and fundamentally sound, reading and reacting as fast as any of his teammates. Coming from a long line of family members who’ve played in the NFL (yes, those Matthews), his ability to diagnose and feel for the game are just a part of his hard drive. The 6-3, 231-pound Paysinger made 68 tackles this year and was a terror in the backfield at times from the weakside. A former wide receiver, he added weight over time without losing a step, bringing the straight-line speed and toughness that’s needed to defend the pass as well as the run. The one question coming into the season was whether or not junior 6-3, 235-pound Josh Kaddu could hold his water on the strongside next to the other two veterans, and he had a decent season with 31 stops. He hit the weights hard to get up to his current size, but he can move.

ADVANTAGE: Oregon. The Auburn linebackers are very good, but they’re not special. However, the Tiger corps is built to stop the Oregon offense with great athleticism and the discipline to be able to make the right reads against the running game. However, Matthews and Paysinger are the best linebackers in the game and they should each hit the double-digit mark in tackles. The question will be whether or not they’re bringing down Newton after a three-yard gain or a 13-yard dash.

CFN 2011 BCS CHAMPIONSHIP POSITION BREAKDOWN

- Quarterbacks | Running Backs
- Receivers | Offensive Lines
- Defensive Lines | Linebackers
- Secondaries | Special Teams | Coaches