One of the major areas the Oregon State football team needed to develop was middle linebacker after junior David Pa’aluhi left the program in the offseason.
UPDATE: Here’s the lastest in the Pa’aluhi saga. He might play for Hawaii. Read it here.
Sophomores Tony Wilson and Rueben Robinson are the top two candidates. Read my Monday story in the GT, which is a look at them.
Here’s more about them that didn’t make the story from senior OLB Keith Pankey’s view.
How is Wilson doing?
“He’s a really smart kid,” Pankey said. “If you remember spring ball a year ago, before he got hurt, he had a hell of a spring ball. The kid has talent. So I think he’ll be great.”
How important will training camp be for him so he can get the communication down with you, once you get back, and Dwight Roberson?
“It’s going to be paramount,” Pankey said. “I know how Dwight plays and he knows how I play. It’s going to be big-time for fall. But even now I’m watching Tony’s game to see what he can do.”
Here’s some left over stuff from Wilson. How are you developing communications with the other LBs?
“That is going great,” Wilson said. “Communication with Dwight and Keo (Camat) are going great. I’m focusing on being vocal and polishing my skills right now.”
Is there extra pressure on two underclassmen to fill in for a junior veteran who left?
“I don’t feel pressure at all,” Wilson said. “I wanted to be back as soon possible. If (Pa’aluhi) was here or not, I had to be ready.”
What’s your relationship with Robinson like?
“Rueben did a great job as a true freshmen. We are good friends. We are not trying to focus on who wins.”
What do you have to do win the job?
I just have to get my speed back, laterlly,” Wilson said. “I’m wearing a brace right now. I have to have my explosiveness and play fast.”
And he’s the last comment from Robinson about the difference this year for him.
“A lot more comfortable than last year,” he said. “I’m picking up on what the linemen and safeties are doing. I’m getting a grasp of the whole defense.”