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2013 BCS Champ. Position Breakdown - LBs
Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o
Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 7, 2013


As a primer, check out the position-by-position breakdown of the 2013 BCS Championship.

2013 BCS Champ. Breakdown

Alabama vs. Notre Dame - LBs

- CFN 2009 BCS Championship Breakdown - Florida vs. Oklahoma   
- CFN 2010 BCS Championship Breakdown - Alabama vs. Texas
- CFN 2011 BCS Championship Breakdown - Auburn vs. Oregon
- CFN 2012 BCS Championship Breakdown - Alabama vs. LSU   

CFN 2013 BCS CHAMPIONSHIP POSITION BREAKDOWN
- Quarterbacks | Running Backs
- Receivers | Offensive Lines
- Defensive Lines | Linebackers
- Secondaries | Special Teams | Coaches

- BCS Championship Preview
- BCS Champ. Preview, Part 2 - Players to Watch, How To Win, & Pick
 
Alabama: The Tide lost heart-and-soul stars and leaders Dont’a Hightower and the Courtney Upshaw off of last year’s defense, and while the linebacking corps didn’t exactly go on without skipping a beat, it was still strong despite the new starters in the mix.

The healthy return of C.J. Mosley helped make up for the major losses. The 6-2, 234-pound junior suffered a dislocated hip in the BCS championship win over LSU, but he healed quickly and was more than fine coming up with a team-leading 99 tackles from his spot on the weakside. Very fast, very athletic and very disruptive, he’s great at getting all over the field in a variety of spots. While he’s built to play on the outside, he can also work in the middle.

After splitting time with Mosley last season, senior Nico Johnson has also worked on the weakside making 54 tackles highlighted by a 12-stop day against LSU. The 6-3, 245-pounder is a huge athlete who has moved around to several spots to get on the field. Great against the run, he doesn’t miss a tackle and he has more than enough experience to be a key factor against the Irish physical ground game.

Sophomore Adrian Hubbard is a tall, fast pass rusher who was limited two years ago with injuries but was solid this year making six sacks and 39 tackles with 12 against LSU. He can play either outside position, and while at 6-6 and 248 pounds he’s built for the Jack position, he works on the strongside as one of the team’s better pass rushers.

Manning the idle is 6-2, 245-pound sophomore Trey DePriest, one of the nation’s top middle linebacker prospects last year and one of the biggest stars in the great 2011 recruiting class. Big, fast and very, very productive, the Tide got him out of Ohio and he immediately became one of the team’s biggest hitters as a key reserve. This year he became a solid presence making 46 stops on the inside.

Stepping in as a hybrid of outside linebacker and end this season was sophomore Xzavier Dickson, a 6-3, 262-pound speedster who beefed up and handled himself well making 33 tackles with 3.5 sacks. He came to Alabama as a top defensive end prospect and now he’s turning into more of a pass rusher and all-around linebacker.

Notre Dame: Overall, the front three has been a bigger part of the defensive success than the linebackers, but, of course, everything works around Manti Te’o. His phenomenal Heisman-caliber season was helped by being able to run free thanks to the job done by the line making 103 tackles, but he made things happen on his own by always being in the right place at the right time. His instincts and range have improved, taking more efficient angles to the ball and sniffing out pass plays far better, evidenced by his seven interceptions and four broken up passes. While he’s not a pass rusher and he doesn’t do much behind the line, that’s not his job. It’ll be up to him to help keep the Alabama running game under wraps, but the Tide will make a point of getting a hat on him – he’s not going to be able to run as free as usually likes to.

Not getting any credit or spotlight as the inside running mate next to Te’o, 6-3, 240-pound senior Dan Fox has been a good and steady starter on the inside over the last few seasons making 57 on the season with eight tackles for loss. With good size and nice range he turned into a nice all-around playmaker able to work inside or out. A former safety who can move, he’ll get to most things Te’o doesn’t.

Junior Prince Shembo is a nice pass rusher who forced his way behind the line for 7.5 sacks with 48 tackles. At 6-2 and 250 pounds he has great size for an outside linebacker with a phenomenal burst off the ball, growing into his skills and talent in a breakout campaign. On the other side will be junior Danny Spond, a beefed up former quarterback who went from mostly working on special teams to becoming an active and athletic part of the equation making 38 tackles.

ADVANTAGE Alabama. Te’o is the singular defensive superstar in the game and he has to be around the ball for at least ten stops, but the Irish need the outside linebackers to be even more active – Shembo’s pass rushing ability could be one of the big keys to the game. The Tide linebackers overall are faster, more active and more talented.

CFN 2013 BCS CHAMPIONSHIP POSITION BREAKDOWN
- Quarterbacks | Running Backs
- Receivers | Offensive Lines
- Defensive Lines | Linebackers
- Secondaries | Special Teams | Coaches