Bearcats Linebackers Have Been Good, Nick Temple Has Been Great

Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into the season the Bearcats linebackers were a constant source of discussion. That talk started with Greg Blair, went to Jeff Luc and eventually found its way to Nick Temple. It might be time to reverse the order after three weeks.

Temple was, once again, all over the field filling up the stat sheet. He notched 6 tackles, 2 sacks and 2.5 Tackles for loss. All that on top of his usual stellar play in coverage. He is now tied for the team lead in sacks with 2 (along with Silverberry Mouhon) and the outright leader in tackles for loss with 5.5. No one else has more than 2.5. Blair is the only thing standing between him and the lead for the tackles, TFL and sacks trifecta.

That Temple is thriving in this defense isn't that big of a surprise. Its a defense that is made for players like Temple. Smaller sure, but fast and ultra aggressive. There is a precedent for this, Rohan Marley for example, a player that Tommy Tuberville happens to have coached. If anything the game of football has changed to make players like Temple and Marley more important to defenses tasked with making more and more plays in space.

As much as Greg Blair and Jeff Luc are coveted by NFL personnel types because of their ability to play physically and be disruptive against the run Temple is the platonic ideal of a linebacker for the scheme that the Bearcats will run under Art Kaufman and Eddie Gran. Blair is gone to the NFL after this year, Luc and (possibly) Temple next year as well.

In their wake is a fleet of Temple sized linebackers ready to take up the mantle. Northwestern transfer Eric Wilson is 6'2" 205 and will be eligible next year. Tubs has already moved Kevin Brown and Marcus Foster down a level to linebackers. Both of those guys would have been jumbo sized safeties by the time they got to starting, now they will be terror inducing linebackers in the Temple mold. Fun times.

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