Jimmy Johnson was the real pioneer of the practice. Making corners into safeties, safeties into linebackers, linebackers into defensive ends, and ends into tackles. It is a long and complicated process, often requiring a couple of years for the moves to pay off. But the goal of it is simple, to get more speed on the field at every level.
The first iteration of the practice in the Tuberville era is now in place, Kevin Brown who played last season as a true freshman safety is now a linebacker. Red shirt freshman safety Marcus Foster is rumored to have been switched to linebacker as well. Though he is still listed as a safety on the official roster.
But back to Brown. This move makes a ton of sense to me. For one, the linebacker depth is still an open question. The only scholarship player among the linebacker back ups is Solomon Tentman. Clemente Casseus and Corey Mason are good players, particularly on special teams and in spot duty with the ones. But if one of the starters goes down for an extended period every smart offense will try to target them.
Enter Brown who played, extensively (for a freshman) last year. He logged 9 games, and played meaningful reps in November games. That is exceedingly rare at UC, the only safety I can remember doing that is Aaron Webster who went on to become an all conference performer.
There is obviously a transition involved with this, but on defense the closer you are to the line of scrimmage the simpler the defense becomes. How well he adapts will ultimately determine how much he plays this year. The staff is obviously hoping he can join the rotation this year, thats why they moved him. But I don't know if he will be ready to go at linebacker for Purdue.
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