A.J. Turner was a bright spot for Arkansas last season, but injuries in the spring and a new coaching staff have pushed him outside of the starting linebacker spots in Chris Ash's 4-3 Defense. Being outside of the starting 3 doesn't necessarily mean a lot right now. Randy Shannon is coaching linebackers this season, and while many football fans are familiar with the running back by committee approach, the Arkansas faithful may be a little surprised when this defense uses linebacker by committee. Shannon expects to run out different linebackers based on personnel groupings and even the down and distance.
The linebacking corp for the Hogs has a lot of bodies to throw out there, and it's just a question of if any of those bodies will be able to perform on an SEC level. While the coaching staff has said that Otha Peters and A.J. Turner's performance last season won't get them on the field, I still expect the confidence and the experience of bringing down so many players last season may help A.J. Turner make it on the field, if he can bounce back from injury.
I also, wanted to give a shout out this week to Jerry Mitchell. He wears #38 for the hogs, and you can usually find him on the field during special teams plays. He's played in 32 games for the hogs and recorded 25 tackles. Sorry for the omission last week, it wasn't a slight against Jerry Mitchell.