BYU Football: Can Quarterback U Now Be Called Linebacker U?

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BYU Football: Can Quarterback U Now Be Called Linebacker U?
George Frey/Getty Images
Brandon Ogletree

BYU is known for producing some of the greatest quarterbacks in football, including Steve Young, Jim McMahon, Ty Detmer, and Gifford Nielsen. A Heisman Trophy, four Davey O' Brien awards and several Sammy Bough trophies have been claimed by Cougar quarterbacks.

But since Max Hall graduated in 2009, the Cougs have had a tough time sticking with one starter for the entire season, either because of injury or struggle. And since Riley Nelson took the reins in 2010, BYU is having an even harder time keeping up with the tradition of the position.

For example, it seems as if all of the great quarterbacks that have passed through "QB U" have been pocket-passers (with the exception of Steve Young). Now, all of the starters at BYU are mobile, run-first players...well, besides Jake Heaps (and all we know how that went).

The current Cougar offense is no longer the "Air Raid" attack of days of old, but a spread offense that provides running room for the QB. But as of late, the offense is having one heck of a time trying to score. On the other side of the ball, BYU's 3-4 defense seems to showcase the athletic ability of the backs, particularly the linebackers. And the talent of these players is nothing short of special.

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 Photo by Jaren Wilkey

(Photo from byucougars.com)

Kyle Van Noy, Spencer Hadley, Brandon Ogletree and Uona Kaveinga anchor the Cougar defense that is ranked fifth in the nation and first in rushing D. You could call this crop of athletes the greatest linebacker corps in the history of BYU football, and it would be hard to disagree.

Although Kaveinga and Ogletree are seniors (and Van Noy will likely move on to the NFL after this year), the future looks bright at linebacker. Hadley will return for his senior season, and BYU also returns young talent in Uani Unga, Alani Fua, Manoa Pikula and Jherremya Leuta-Douyere.

But this isn't the first time BYU has had an abundance of talent at linebacker; in fact, you could argue that the history of the LB position at BYU is nearly as abundant as QB. Great Cougar linebackers include Shay Muirbrook, Rob Morris, Shad Hansen, Brady Poppinga and Kyle Whittingham.

So, considering BYU's recent struggle at QB and dominance at linebacker, is it safe to call Brigham Young "Linebacker U." now? Let me hear your responses below.

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