Our daily countdown to the return of Texas football continues with yet another reason to love the fall in Austin.
With just 40 days left until kickoff, we turn the spotlight to Robert Killebrew, who dons the #40 from his strongside linebacker position. I wanted to highlight Killebrew because, as I've said several times now this offseason, his play last year was tremendously disappointing. While offseason reports have him working his tail off to improve, it's absolutely a Show Me season for Killebrew.
For some perspective, let's do a little comparison. Robert Killebrew played in 13 games last season (starting in 12 of them) only to finish with a head-scratchingly low 40 tackles. To get an idea of just how few that is, I picked a school which employs a similar 4-3 base defense - Ohio State - and looked up the stats for their starting strongside linebacker last year. Marcus Freeman, a sophomore last year, played in 13 games as well (starting in 11 of them), but managed 71 tackles on the year, nearly double Killebrew's production. Glancing at some numbers, Ohio State's defense faced 384 rush attempts, while Texas' defense faced 344, so we can't explain it away as an opportunity problem.
No, the problem was Killebrew, who simply didn't make enough plays last year. I'm glad to hear that he's working hard on improvement, because he won't be able to hold that starting job without a big step up in 2007.