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Positional Outlooks: Outside Linebacker

I'm writing some positional outlooks for our beloved Buffaloes. They are based on what I've read and seen of the players we've got.

(Analysis after the jump)


Our defense for most of camp has been a 3-3-5, meaning there have been 3 down linemen (two tackles and an end), two inside LBs, and an outside LB. That outside guy has been either BJ Beatty or Tyler Ahles. Beatty has dealt with a lot of injuries in his time here, and he would probably have the position locked down if not for that. They have been rushing from the weakside DE spot while West has been out, so we will see what they do differently when he comes back. It's something we may not know til the CSU game.

The cast:

  • B.J. Beatty, Sr
    • He is one of the most intense and passionate guys on the team. He's the man. He has had his fair share of bad breaks when it comes to the injury bug, but he has always fought his way back. He has surrendered some valuable snaps to Tyler Ahles this fall, but he will be back with a vengeance. He is one of the guys who led half the squad in the Warrior Dance at the spring game. That is so cool that he would share something like that with his teammates. It is a huge deal in Hawaiian/Samoan culture, and I kind of hope the team brings it back throughout the season. Anyway, he is the most complete OLB on the team, and he has bulked up a bit this off-season. He is strong in his lower body, giving him balance and leverage, and has a strong upper-body, which will help him shed blocks and use some of his pass-rush moves. He is a pretty impressive athlete who has good strength for his size. He is also one of the emotional leaders for the defense, which is awesome, and he is just as vocal and passionate when he is on the sideline. A great guy to have on the team. He will be missed next year.
  • Tyler Ahles, Jr
    • He is pretty good. He's solid, but he isn't quite the athlete you want at OLB. He is strong enough on top, but he lacks lower body strength. It hinders him leverage-wise, and he seems to struggle to disengage because of it. He also was kind of a one-trick pony last year, getting pushed too far upfield each time he rushed the passer. He knows the D, which is why he is right up there with Beatty, but I would prefer Ahles take the backseat to Beatty. He is a very solid guy to have, though, and he definitely has improved since last year.
  • David Goldberg, Jr
    • He transferred to CU from Penn State, and has bounced in between LB and DE a couple of times, but now he has settled at OLB, and it is a good fit. After coming back from a knee injury, he has the size to stop the run, and the agility to rush the passer and play in coverage a bit. He is at his best when rushing the passer, though. He is the biggest of the OLBs, which could help him see the field, even though he is less familiar with the position than Beatty and Ahles. He provides solid depth.
  • Liloa Nobriga, Fr
    • He is a redshirt freshman and is the OLB of the future. He still has to get bigger, but he is very athletic and has long arms. He has a big enough frame to add some weight and hopefully retain his top-notch quickness. Strength is his biggest thing, though he is not that far from being able to see the field. He is a good pass-rusher, and he understands enough to be able to play the run well. Really, he just needs to get bigger. He has very quick feet and quick hands, which will make him a complete OLB and a huge addition to the D. He also plays with a little fire, which is good to see out of a young guy. He should be really good in another year or two.

In 2010:

It is the Beatty and Ahles show, with hopefully a heavier dose of Beatty. On this defense, he has a chance to get to the QB and make a bunch of stops behind the line of scrimmage. Ahles will get some time as well, though he isn't quite the impact player that Beatty is, and will be solid for us. These guys spend a lot of time working on using their hands well, and recognition, which will help them be a force in the run-game. It is also a position of sufficient depth, which will be nice as the season rolls on.

Beyond 2010:

Nobriga is the OLB of the future, and he has a chance to be a pretty good one. I would not be surprised if he is competing for the starting spot next year over Ahles and Goldberg. Beatty will be missed, but Nobriga most likely can fill the void that he will leave when he graduates. But he cannot do it alone, so they will need to bring in a couple more guys here via recruiting over the next few seasons. There is always the chance that a guy like Rippy could be switched back outside as well. So we'll just have to see.


-What was your impression of our Outside Linebackers last season? What do you think/hope will change?

-What have you noticed (Spring scrimmage/Fall camp)?

-Where do these guys fit in recently or historically at CU? Will you remember any of them down the road?

-What's your impression of the coaching and recruiting at this position?

Positional Outlooks:

Running Back

Defensive Tackle

Inside Linebacker

Tight End

Defensive End

Wide Receiver

If you have any questions or additional comments or insights, please feel free to email me at: