Are we the REAL Linebacker U? [2010 Season Preview]

Traditionally speaking, of course, Penn State is nicknamed “LBU” by silly pundits and fans of that school. The truth is tOSU has been, for years, been putting out some of the best LBs in college football and they have been doing extremely well in the NFL.

This year is no different and may possibly be one of our deepest positions on the team and maybe one of our best LB crews ever.

The Linebackers:

Ross Homan

Ross Homan

This senior out of Coldwater, Ohio is a tackling machine and is on every defensive awards watch-list. He has the size and speed and is smart enough to anchor the defense and be its leader. He has a lot of skills needed to be a dominant player and uses them to his advantage. Homan is technically sound and has that “knack” of being at the right place at the right time, as evidenced by his five interceptions at opportune times. He also averaged 8.3 tackles per game . He has All-American written all over him and the potential to win at the very least the Butkus Award for best LB in the country.

And he’ll do it all quietly and efficiently, just the way he likes it.

His 2009 statistics were 108 tackles, 5 TFL, 5 INT, and 2 fumble recoveries.

Brian Rolle

This senior out of Immokalee, FL lacks the size at 5’8″ and 218 lbs that is normally needed to be a starting linebacker on a top 10 team. So, why is he starting again this year? Simple answer: his speed, explosiveness and toughness makes up for his lack of size. Fundamentally, he has issues (see: his tackling, especially at the goal line versus Jeremiah Masoli in the Rose Bowl) but he makes up for them with the intangibles. He is a Buckeye in the truest sense of the word. All heart and motor. He may not get the press that Homan does but he should get the accolades All-Big Ten this season.

His little, stumpy legs and oversized melon look out of place out there, but Rolle will simply out hussle you.

His 2009 statistics were 95 tackles, 7 TFL, 1 INT, and 1 fumble recovery.

Etienne Sabino

This guy has all the talent in the world and the size to go with it at 6’3 and 240 lbs. He is a junior out of North Miami, FL. He has been given every chance to win the third LB spot on this years team and in the spring it was almost a sure thing it was his. That was the case until this next LB came along.

Sabino has seen the field in the past and he has been effective on special teams but Buckeye fans are still looking for him to reach the potential that fans and coaches have seen in Etienne. Most linebackers seem come into their own during their junior year and there will still be plenty of opportunities for Sabino to make an impact, but it just seems like his time is limited. He can turn the pressure into winning playing time into a great experience.

His 2009 statistics were: 6 tackles, 0.5 TFL, no interceptions and no fumble recoveries.

Andrew Sweat

Andrew seems to be gaining a lot of traction in his bid to getting the starting nod at LB. Buzz out of practice is that he is getting a lot of time with the first team unit during the Jersey Scrimmage game and now the speculation is this 6’2″ 238 lbs junior out of Washington, PA stud is going to be the starter with Sabino backing him up and pushing him every week. From the sounds of it, it’s less of Sabino performing poorly and more of Sweat impressing coaches with his play.

Sweat saw playing time last season but barely enough to really get a bead on his strengths and weaknesses. From what we saw, his technique and strength seem to be there and he’ll just need game experience to go with it.

His 2009 statistics were: 15 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 INT and no fumble recoveries.

Dorian Bell

Young Puppy is a red-shirt freshman out of Monroeville, PA and at 6’1″ and 225 lbs he is a pure athlete and probably needs to put on some size but he is young and hungry. He should see time on special teams and in mop up duty in games against Marshall and EMU. With Ohio State’s depth at linebacker, it will be tough for Bell to see the field too often, but

His 2008 High School Statistics 113 tackles, 19 TFL, 7 sacks, 4 forced fumbles as a senior.

These Buckeyes should continue the tradition of Ohio State producing high quality linebackers at all three positions.


  1. Awww How Cute. Ohio State thinks they are linebacker u. Thats adorable… convenient to pick the one year where PSU is possibly weak at its starting three linebacker spots to poke fun.

    Keep dreaming.

    WE ARE

  2. No Storm Klein? I thought he’d been running the second team at middle linebacker.

  3. Yes indeed OSU linebackers continue to succeed and be playmakers for a traditionally top ranked defense. Best wishes to the Buckets linebacker corp for 2010!

    Look for the Buckeye’s to compete heavy for the services of Darrien Howard for the class of 2013.

    Howard is a bluechip sophomore for Dayton Chaminade Julienne who has already received a offer from the UC Bearcats and he is on the radar of Penn St, Notre Dame and Michigan St as front runners.

    Footballinohio is an affiliate of the

  4. No disrespect to the Buckeyes. Typo.
    I like Klein also.

  5. @ rayloff that is the problem if you were really LBU you would never have a “weak year” OSU never seems to have one. Also if you look at LB’s drafted over the last 30 years OSU has not ony had more drafted but more starting LB’s in the NFL. For an example see this years St. Louis Rams starting LB corp….. All Buckeyes. WE ARE “NOT LBU”?

    @ footballinohio we like Klien too and maybe should have included him too in hindsight but I tried to cover those who were getting the most playing time with 1st string defense and Andrew Sweat and Dorian Bell seem to have been getting more snaps with the 1st string during the scrimmage. Not that Storm isnt an awesome player at all he will play a lot and I should have included him in the preview My Bad.

    @ Mike see above lol but it definately looks like I need to add a preview of Storm Klein as well.

  6. re Rayloff; No sir, I poke fun at PSU LB’s year in and year out.

  7. gradiology says

    You can scream for attention and throw all of the tantrums you want, but nobody is going to call you LBU. Sure you have good LB’s, that’s not the question. We have earned a better reputation for producing quality linebackers over the years. The name was given to us by the media and is now synonymous with Penn State. Why all of the jealousy? You guys are really attention starved. Time to grow up.

  8. Rogue Nine says

    Three LBs drafted last year out of Penn State. ‘Nuf said. Dan Conner, Posluszny in recent years. And despite having all three of last years starters drafted and gone, no one is worried about the defense, why? Top recruits moving in ready to further the legend of LBU.

  9. gradiology says

    … and P.S. This is not a down year for LBs at PSU. It’s simply that our LB’s are not as familiar to the media yet as they are to PSU fans since we had ALL 3 STARTING LINEBACKERS TAKEN IN THE NFL DRAFT LAST YEAR. Don’t worry, you’ll know them by the end of the season.

  10. Espn headline reads “Cowboys, Rams swap underachievers”

    The Cowboys traded the underachieving Bobby Carpenter because they had the stud PSU linebacker Sean Lee.

  11. Hail to the Lion says

    Number of Chuck Bednarik Award winners from Penn State: 4 (all linebackers: LaVar, Poz (twice), Connor). Number of Chuck Bednarik Award winners from Ohio State: 0

  12. Rayloff…you must not keep up with much PSU football. Linebacker is probably PSU’s strongest position again this year. There are about 7 guys at that position that would start for just about anyone else in the country…Watch out for Mike Mauti and Gerald Hodges, they aren’t even listed as the starters, but will be household names by the 4th week. PSU is absolutely stacked at LB, it’s just that no one knows them by name because they were playing behind Sean Lee and Navorro Bowman.

    Sylvester Yon-Rambo…PSU also has a LB playing for the Rams. Overall, the Rams LB’s aren’t exactly good by NFL standards. Adequate at best. And isn’t it ironic that two of the Rams projected starters lost their jobs to PSU LB’s at their former teams? see Dan Connor and Sean Lee. And Bobby Carpenter may be one of the biggest NFL busts of the past decade.

    I have a lot of respect for OSU. I’ve been to the Shoe and it’s one of my favorite places to watch a game (although there should be an injunction order banning the song “Hang on Sloopy” from ever being played again…pretty cheesy). But OSU just isn’t LBU.

  13. @rayloff the answer to “we are” this season is going to be “middle or the pack”. back to where you belong.

  14. FYI…Sweat has officially beat out Sabino for starting OLB…Sabino will be backing up Rolle at MLBer…


    There was nothing funnier than seeing a true freshman fullback truck your best LBers last year Lee and Bowman. How did that game go for PSU again?

    Let me finish that last line for you:

    WE ARE….about to go 7-5 and 5th place in the Big Ten.

  15. With the Ohio State defensive line set to have another huge year, look for these linebackers to run wild.

  16. Yes we can make an argument. But PSU can too and it’s probably better. Even if the arguments were equal, it’s their thing. Seems goofy for us to try and steal it.

    It’s like some upstart program from FL claiming that their history and tradition stacks up to tOSU. Go home with that weak stuff. We should stop trying to take something legit from PSU as well.

  17. @ Sylvester
    1. No one at PSU expects a weak year at LB; we have 3 new starters, but none are weak
    2. You should be proud to have the starting LB Corp for the Rams – great team.
    note- Laurinitis = great, however:
    1. Grant – traded in ’08 from SF; Bowman took his place
    2. Diggs – released by Carolina this year as Conner took his place
    3. Bobby Carpenter – released by Dallas due to underperformance; Sean Lee took his place
    Seems to me, most of your STL crew have been displaced by better LBs from PSU.
    Watch our Laurinitis – STL drafted the Stache this year…

  18. “For an example see this years St. Louis Rams starting LB corp….. All Buckeyes.”

    First off, you’re taking one of the worst teams in the league as your example of how good the LBs are? It actually points to the opposite.

    Next, the Rams starts are Na’il Diggs, Bobby Carpenter, and James Laurinaitis right?

    Hmm…Na’il Diggs was beat out by Dan Connor in Carolina, Bobby Carpenter was beat out by Sean Lee in Dallas, and Laurinaitis is being closely tailed by Josh Hull.

    When was the last time all three of OSU’s starting LB’s were drafted?

  19. @ Todd you misunderstood my point. that it is silly for someone to claim such a silly title. It is like saying we are Big Ten U since we have so many titles or we are NFLU because we put in so many players to the NFL.

    Bottom line is we have stud LB’s this year and every year. The LBU title PSU can have and keep calling themselves that all they want. It just doesnt make it true IMO.

  20. @ Gradiology I know you well from the ESPN Big Ten Blog. This is Michigansux45. Just wanted to say hello lol.

  21. I want to thank all the PSU fans for stopping by our Blog. Some of the info is true and some is false. I cant begin to dissect it all.

    1.)yes we have had all 3 LBs drafted in the same year a few years back.

    2.) most of the guys you say who stole Our LB spots werent even part of the team when they were traded away. Bowman just got drafted and grant was traded away 2 years ago sounds like voodoo math to me lol.

    3.)Do the math if you all at PSU can and count all the LBs drafted by both school in the last 20 years. I bet we win and it isnt even close.

    4.)Little Animal has no worries for his starting spot he is a beast.

    5.)But I digress like I said earlier I dont want the silly title I was just trying to point out OSU is as always loaded at LB.

  22. When was the last time all three OSU LBers were drafted? Hawk, Carpenter and Schlegel…same year. 2006.

    In the last 30 years Ohio State has more All American LBers than Penn State does…and that’s a fact.

    Since joining the Big Ten Ohio State is 11-6 vs. Penn State and since Tressel took over the Buckeyes are 6-3.

    You can have the moniker of Linebacker U. We will gladly continue handing you your own ass come football season while you brag about some ridiculous nickname.

    By the way, what happened in last year’s game again? Watch as Terrelle Pryor and freshman fullback Zach Boren truck “Linebacker U” en route to a 24-7 victory.

    Were you PSU fans mad when OSU LBers held your “running game” to 76 yards while the OSU running game tacked on 228 yards against your “linebacker U?”

    PS. This all happened in Happy Valley…Hahahahaha….yeah….get over your selves.

  23. There should not be a dispute about which team should be called Linebacker U. PSU was called LBU decades ago because of the great ‘backers since JoPa arrived and the great D coach of Jerry Sandusky. Both schools produce top 10 D’s and great linebackers, but PSU has been impressive over a longer period of time.

    Eight times in the past 40 years, at least three Penn State linebackers have been picked in the same NFL draft. That includes a record-tying four in 1970.

  24. FYI…The award for the most outstanding linebacker, the Butkus award has been won 2 times each by OSU LB’s and PSU LB’s.

    Oklahoma has won it 4 times…so I guess they are actually LBer U.

  25. The Butkus award was awarded since 1985 and the Bednarik since 1995. There are at least a dozen linebackers from PSU who were collegiate All Americans and NFL draftees who couldn’t win the award. There isn’t a long history to comapre teams.

    One outstanding item to note is the Bednarik award given to the most oustanding defensive player and PSU has won it 4 times= All Linebackers! OSU=0

  26. Current NFL Linebackers:

    OSU: 9
    PSU: 9

    Then I totalled the production from their careers thus far:

    OSU NFL LBers:

    2157 tackles
    85.5 sacks
    29 INT’s

    PSU NFL LBers:

    597 tackles
    33.5 tackles
    5 INT’s

    The bottom line is that the current OSU NFL LBers have had a far greater impact on the NFL that the PSU NFL LBers.

  27. RR that just points to the fact that JoePa only played seniors most of his career giving them a better chance to have all 3 drafted the same year.

  28. You Penn State fans crack me up. You claim you don’t like it that the “media” has created this “Linebacker U” moniker for your school. You never called yourselves that. It’s not your fault the talking heads call you that!

    Yet, anytime anyone challenges the notion that maybe their favorite team’s linebackers are pretty good, you come out of the woodwork to vociferously defend your school’s status as LBU.

    Can’t have it both ways, guys.

  29. The nickname for the 2010 Penn State linebacking corps:


  30. The “truckings” that Johnny refers to can be seen here:

    and here

    Sean LOLee

  31. FWIW….Dorian Bell was Pennsilvania’s number one recruit a couple years ago.

    Good to see he picked the right LBer U.

  32. Hail to the Lion says

    “The nickname for the 2010 Penn State linebacking corps: LINEBACKER WHO”

    Of course you would think that. You’re an Ohio State fan that clearly doesn’t know the first thing about the rosters of any other Big Ten teams.

    I mean look at the above article. Your #2 guy is 5’8″ and has tackling issues? Seriously? That guy doesn’t even get considered by the PSU coaching staff at LB. And you’re #3 and #4 guys have a combined 21 tackles, 1.5 TFLs, and 1 INT? And on the basis of this “strong” class you’re going to start yapping about how this makes you the real LBU? A year after we just sent 3 guys to the pros? Come on, you can’t be serious.

    And by the way, for all their NFL success, how many LBs does OSU have in the Pro Football HOF? Because we’ve got Jack Hamm. Who’ve you got?

  33. Hail to the Lion says

    And for those of you who (incorrectly) think that recruiting rankings are the end-all-be-all. How many 3-star LB recruits (according to has OSU given scholarships to over the last 4 classes? Answer: 3 out of 11 signings. How many for PSU? Answer: 0 of of 11 signings (they were all 4 and 5 star prospects). Why did Dorian Bell pick OSU? I don’t know, but probably because he looked at the depth chart and realized he’d have a much better chance at significant playing time at OSU than PSU.

  34. Hail to the Lion says

    “The “truckings” that Johnny refers to can be seen here:

    Where? Seriously, I watched this video three times and can’t see what you’re talking about? Are you talking about where #44 dove out of bounds at the 3:13 mark and barely made contact with anyone? Are you really talking about that play and calling it a “trucking.” If so, that tells me everything I need to know about your (mis)perceptions regarding the skill level of our LBs.

  35. Rolle had 10 tackles vs. Penn State and was one of the reasons PSU was held to under 80 yards rushing vs. OSU last time out.

    Jack Hamm…really? (insert animated pic of rolling eyes here)

    Hawk and Laurinaitis were 3 star recruits. What is your point? I’d take either of them over any PSU linebacker in the last 15 years. Why? Because they are flat out better than anything PSU has produced.

    You can have your 4-5 star recruits…our 3-5 star recruits are better than them.

    The truckings I’m referring to happen when Boren, a true freshman at the time leveled Sean Lee. Once opening a whole for Herron to gallup through and the other was BEFORE the catch he made…running over Lee again. It actually happened the entire game and really, the whole game is an OSU highlight video.

    I was actually joking around before, but seeing as how you Penn State fans get your panties in a bunch over this stupid nickname…we are keeping it just to piss you off.

    Again, Ohio State was able to run all over PSU’s vaunted LBU last year for 228 yards while OSU’s LBers held the PSU running game to under 80 yards.

  36. OSU would “hail to the lion” but they have been too busy beating the hell out of them…

  37. We only had the best LB ever to play college Football CHRIS SPIELMAN….. give it time he will be a NFL HOF member soon enough.

  38. Don’t forget Randy Gradisah-he will be there too.

    In January, 2008, he was voted by a panel of former NFL players and coaches to Pro Football Weekly ‘s All-Time 3-4 defensive team along with Harry Carson, Lawrence Taylor, Andre Tippett, Howie Long, Lee Roy Selmon, and Curley Culp

  39. HttL wrote:
    >>Where? Seriously, I watched this video three times and can’t see what you’re talking about? Are you talking about where #44 dove out of bounds at the 3:13 mark and barely made contact with anyone?<< eK is referring to the destruction of the vaunted PSU LB at the 1:08 mark, then again at the 3:07 mark when Boren knocks the LB onto his rear end with ONE HAND, then turns, calls for the pass, grabs it, and makes the first down. If you have the high-res turned on, a second after the hit you can see JoePa's diaper bulge when he poops himself in involuntary response.

  40. johny utah says

    im a psu fan and i struggle with 2nd grade spelling and grammar!

  41. Hail to the Lion says

    “We only had the best LB ever to play college Football CHRIS SPIELMAN….. give it time he will be a NFL HOF member soon enough.”

    HAHAHAHAHAHA….That’s seriously one of the funniest things I’ve heard in a very long time. Yah, with his 10.5 career sacks and 6 career Int’s….sure he will. Go ahead and hold your breath for that HOF induction ceremony.

    “I was actually joking around before, but seeing as how you Penn State fans get your panties in a bunch over this stupid nickname…we are keeping it just to piss you off.”

    Dude, you can do whatever you like, but simply calling yourself “Linebacker U” doesn’t make it true. Convince one person in the country outside of Buckeye-land that you’re the new “Linebacker U” as a start…..and then do it another couple of million times and you might eventually get there. You can keep referring to your program as Linebacker U all you want, but everyone’s just going to think you’re talking about Penn State. Sorry, but you might as well just accept it.

    “Hawk and Laurinaitis were 3 star recruits. What is your point?” I don’t know, what was your point about Dorian Bell? You brought up the case of one recruit as if it somehow supported your position that OSU is the real Linebacker U. Then I counter with some statistics that cover the last 11 LBs signed by both programs and your response is “So”. Come on, I expected a little more out of you than that…..then again, why should I be surprised.

    “I’d take either of them over any PSU linebacker in the last 15 years.” Of course you would. You haven’t actually sat down and watched more than one PSU game per year over that span.

    Anyway, thanks again for the Spielman laugh. You guys really do crack me up. Have a good season boys.

  42. Spielman and Gradisah will be in the PFHOF…mark it down.

    Ohio State IS Linebacker U.

    My point about Dorian Bell was that he was not only THE best linebacker but best player to come out of PA. You are really telling me that he picked OSU because he thought he could start there faster? If he went to PSU he would be starting this year based on the average talent there. Bell is a freak physically but like others is struggling to pick up the OSU defensive playbook which is complex to say the least…and that’s not a guess. I know that for a fact.

    2 of your three 3 star examples were All Americans…total of 4 times between the two of them. I wasn’t talking about star rankings…you were.

    I actually watch a lot of PSU games…and frankly OSU linebackers are better. It’s been proven time and time again when the two teams meet.

    Anyway, thanks for the 24-7 laugh last year on your home field. Enjoy being a middle of the pack team this year.

  43. Hey Simba,

    Compare the records of OSU and PSU since the kitty’s joined the Big Ten:

    PSU: 86-50
    OSU: 106-29-1

    Hahahahaha….20 games better.

  44. I noticed you didnt mention how many tackles Spielman had or pro bowls or defensive awards. Nevermind that he is still to this day considered by most NON PSU HOMERS the best college Linebacker EVER.

  45. Dude had 29 tackles vs UM in one game…

  46. It’s 2:52am and Trent Richardson just ran over another Penn State linebacker.

  47. “Linebacker U” was just run over for 304 yards rushing.


  48. you just commented on a post that’s about 3 months old. get a life

  49. @Rayloff – we’ll just ignore the irony of your reply.

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