Linebacker U is a name that the Nittany Lions take great pride in, but it’s a moniker that they’re always trying to live up to on the gride iron, that’s been a full time job for Defensive Coordinator Brent Pry.
In 2016, injuries plague the linebacking corps, with injuries to Jason Cabinda, Brandon Bell, as well as one that ended the season for Nyeem Wartman-White
Having a steady hand stepping in like a Brandon Smith has helped guide Penn State through rough seas.
“What he wants to do well, he will do well,” Pry said. “He’s the guy when you look around our unit, the most trusted guy the guys would have unbelievable confidence in, he’d be top two or three guys.
“You just really know what you get from Brandon.”
But after Saturday’s game, Smith and Cabinda will be gone. Manny Bowen was expected to be a lock for the middle linebacker position, but as of this week, he’s no longer with the Penn State Football team. The opening paragraph of the next chapter of Linebacker U is being written this week.
“There’s going to be a lot of competition next year,” Safety Marcus Allen said. “A lot of numbers are going to be called and a lot people are going to have to step up.”
PSU’s current crop of defensive leaders believes it’s not a question of if someone will step up, but when.
“I see a lot of leadership characteristics from Ellis Brooks,” Allen said. “He’s mature for his age. I believe that he’ll have a great chance and a great opportunity to fill that role.”