Consensus heading into the season
After using a rotation that included Herzy, McLaughlin, Toal, Akins and Francois, this group has some huge shoes to fill physically and emotionally.
Backups and Hopefuls
The best "chatter" of the summer has been the play of the young LBs. Everyone is raving about Kuechly and DiSanzo. Clancy was a very good scout player last year. Even Lawrence and Sinkovec (who are both expected to redshirt) have performed well according to second hand reports.
The Real Question
Will any of the more experienced guys finally make the leap? In an ideal world Thompson, Williams and Bagan would all be stepping up right now. Injuries, academics and general disappointment have limited their playing time. In the past McGovern was very good about getting young guys on the field. That didn't happen much last year. They didn't even make significant impacts on special teams. With McLaughlin's return date still unknown, we will need depth. Hopefully some of the more experienced step up their game and show the young guys a thing or two.
My Bold Prediction
At least two LBs will make All ACC Freshman teams. I don't know who but given the playing time ahead and the positive buzz, I think it is safe to say that two will crack the list.
What keeps me up at night?
That McLaughlin comes back late in the season and is never 100%. Expecting a sixth-year medical redshirt is risky. BC and McLaughlin could follow all the right steps and still get a "No" from the NCAA. Because of that fear, people around the program will probably play McLaughlin this year regardless of his health. If he misses more than five games, I would hope BC pushes for a medical redshirt. It would be a shame to see a two year captian go out with an abbreviated season.
Like every other portion of these previews, I am very half full about this group. Sure they are green, but the talent, scheme and coaching should hold us through the season. If one or two freshman can step up like past freshmen linebackers (think Toal or Herzy) we'll be okay.