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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Palmer to lead LBs, entire defense”

    With the unquestioned leader of last year’s linebacker corps gone with the departure of Spencer Larsen, Ronnie Palmer certainly has big shoes to fill – even bigger than he may have once anticipated.

    Not only does Palmer have to anchor Arizona’s linebackers, but the senior also has been thrown in as the leader of a defense that only returns two other starters.

    Needless to say, the Arizona football team is counting on him.

    “”It is good (to be the leader of the defense) but the expectations are really, really high. But I like it because I enjoy the challenge, and this year has already been great before the season started,”” Palmer said. “”It feels almost like high school all over again. It is exciting to have youngsters looking up to you and asking you questions, and I really like that role.

    “”You can’t think about the pressure of the situation at all,”” said Palmer, who was second on the team in tackles last year behind Larsen. “”You just have to take control and take over.””

    Stepping in to fill in the spots left by Larsen and Dane Krogstad are senior Adrian McCovy and junior Xavier Kelley, both of who have their own individual traits.

    McCovy is universally known by his teammates as being the big hitter who leaves it all on the field. On various occasions McCovy, who has a body comparable to one you see in the NFL, has used a bevy of monumental drawn from aggression to make runners think twice before carrying the ball near him.

    Kelley, meanwhile, uses a combination of speed and discipline in order to get the job done.

    One thing they both have in common? The two linebackers are eager to make a name for themselves.

    “”I feel confident in our defense and our offense, and hopefully we can live up to the expectations,”” McCovy said. “”Not having much experience just puts a chip on our shoulder, and we will play every down play-by-play, and we will be alright.””

    Kelley is just as eager.

    “”I am really excited because I finally have a chance to go at it after waiting for a long time,”” he said. “”I think I had a really good fall camp. I had a lot of stuff I needed to work on, but it seems it had a good turn out. Everything seemed to work out for the best, and I am ready to step into the starting lineup.

    “”I need to make sure I play my part and I don’t do too much and stay in position,”” Kelley added. “”I just need to make sure everything is all right on my end and not worry about doing stuff for everybody else.””

    While the starting lineup seems to be set at the position, linebacker coach Tim Kish expects to substitute people in on a regular basis in order to keep the players fresh.

    Though not having an abundance of experience can be seen as quite the drawback, it may not be all bad for the unseasoned Arizona linebacker corps.

    As each player looks to make a name for himself through competition in and out of games, the linebackers have continually pushed each other to bring out the best in one another.

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