Practice has begun. The season opener is on the horizon. Football is back.
To preview Texas’ impending season, we’re spending part of August by asking 20 burning questions in 20 days.
Today’s question, which will be handled by columnist Kirk Bohls and beat writer Brian Davis:
No. 13: What’s the best spot for Steve Edmond?
Edmond arrived at Texas as a middle linebacker. He spent his first two seasons at middle linebacker. And then switched to the outside last year. Physically, his 6-2, 258-pound frame looks perfectly suited for the middle. Edmond has more starts there than anywhere else.
He’s made 192 career tackles, with 10 tackles for loss, two sacks, three interceptions, five quarterback pressures, seven pass breakups and three forced fumbles. He’s started 22 games and has played 36.
But he switched from the middle to the outside last season when Jordan Hicks was lost with an Achilles injury. Edmond played well, including a standout night against West Virginia — a career-high 12 tackles, two quarterback pressures and a big interception on the final play of overtime.
Hicks is back. And the emergence of 6-3, 252-pound Dalton Santos, who took over for Edmond in the middle last year has bunched things up for Texas’ linebackers corps.
Last year, Santos started seven games (wins over Iowa State, Oklahoma, TCU, Kansas and West Virginia, and losses to Baylor and Oregon). He was fourth on the team in tackles (74), tied for third in pass breakups (5) and was fourth in tackles for loss (10).
Edmond started 10 games, four at MLB and six at OLB. He was fifth on the team in tackles (73, one back of Santos), second in interceptions and tied for third in pass breakups (also with Santos, 5). He was lost on Thanksgiving with a lacerated liver.
Texas will run different looks on defense, switching from 4-3 to 3-4 formations and running the nickel. Linebackers are a worry spot already, personnel-wise, so coaches will have to plug their players in the right spots.
So, what’s the best place for Edmond to play?
BOHLS: THE MIDDLE … WHERE HE BELONGS.
“Right there in the middle of things. He’s made for middle linebacker. He’s tough, he’s physical, he’s a playmaker (see Texas-West Virginia game tape), and he’s a leader. Well, he’s trying to be, although that entails more than just calling out the Baylor Bears with mud-slinging.”
DAVIS: THE MIDDLE … BY DEFAULT.
“It’s a difficult question because in the Big 12, so many teams are using spread offenses. Even defensive coordinator Vance Bedford said he expects to use a nickel package 80 percent of the time. By default, Edmond will be roaming the middle of the field. He started 10 games last season and ranked fifth on the team in tackles and had two interceptions. It’ll be interesting to see how linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary rotates Edmond along with Hicks, Santos and Demarco Cobbs.
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