This week, Shane Murray (reportedly) sprained his knee. Fortunately for our Panthers, we have recruited hard and recruited well at the linebacker position. Given that we finally have some solid depth at that position, it made sense that Tristan Roberts would be one of the guys stepping up to replace Murray. When you think about it, there are also some other guys who have played the linebacker spot and could step in such as Greg Williams, Nate Nix, Brandon Lindsay, Max Gruder, Greg Williams, Steve Dell, Joe Trebitz, and the highly recruited Shayne Hale.
So from that list, the guy splitting time with Tristan is not even mentioned. I was probably just as shocked as you will be to find out that the staff is considering Austin Ransom to replace Shane Murray. To me, this is a major coaching blunder. For those of you who read Gorman's blog, I'm sure you read where he mentioned Ransom didn't know where to line up.
This is finally a year where we have players ready to break out in several different positions. To me, Lindsay, Nix, Gruder, but most of all Greg Williams could become to be very good players for the Panthers. Greg Williams has been playing very well throughout all of the practices. Of all of the linebackers not named Scott McKillop, he looked like he was the most field ready linebacker we had on the team during the practices I have attended.
I really hope this is just something temporary. I do not see how Austin Ransom can fit in as a linebacker. Much like Murray, he is on the smaller side and has most of his experience playing DB or WR. To me, asking a kid with little to no experience to switch to a completely new position during his senior year, and only 9 days away from the opening kick off is too much.
Our other linebackers have been studying what their positions are for at least all of camp. Some guys have been doing this for years. We can debate whether or not Jonathan Baldwin should see the field, or who the 2nd running back should be, but to me our linebackers will be a crucial part of Bennett's defense. I don't believe we should mess it up by moving guys to a position they are not familiar with only days before the season starts. At some point we have to let our younger guys who were brought in to play these positions get a chance to do so.