Friday, April 11, 2008

Good Bye Sam?

Georgia, as well as other schools, calls its strongside linebacker the "Sam" linebacker (weakside = 'Will' & middle = 'Mike'). However, as offenses around the country continue to run spread formations, the Sam position is being used less and less. Defenses are having to replace the strongside linebacker with an additional defensive back who is better at covering receivers. With the Sam in the game, the defense is forced into zone coverage, as opposed to man to man. Thus: Advantage Offense. Now the strongside linebacker is learning both of the other two linebacking positions, as well as defensive end in some cases. This versatility on the linebackers part keeps their minutes on the field up. Finding a player who is big, strong and quick to fill these new roles dosen't necessarily mean a change in the type of high school player colleges will recruit. The young men colleges have been offering scholarships to in recent years are already physically gifted like that. Combined with really good high school coaching and year-round weight training, so many kids now give college coaches the flexibility of trying them at more than one position anyway. It could mean however, that just in a numbers game, there will be a need to increase the number of DBs being recruited over LBs.
But colleges already sign "athletes", a lot of whom end up in the defensive backfield, so recruiting probably won't change noticeably. They will always recruit the top players at their respective positions. Anyway, Sam won't disappear completely. He just might have another name!

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