Thursday, November 20, 2008

Player Anatomy: LB James Laurinaitis, Ohio St.


Character / Leadership Ability:
Laurinaitis is a natural leader who was named captain as a junior – the first time that’s happened since Jim Tressel has been the coach at Ohio State.

Competitive Nature/ Work Ethic: He is well-prepared for every game and is a tireless worker with a very high motor. No one puts more time in the film room than this Buckeye.

Football Intelligence: His outstanding instincts and knowledge of the game are unmatched. Laurinaitis makes good reads and is always around the ball. As the middle linebacker, he makes all the calls for the defense.

Size: While he has the prototypical size for his position, it appears he could actually increase his upper body strength while maintaining his quickness.

Athletic Ability: Laurinaitis is a very athletic player, one who has both good straight-line and lateral speed. His athleticism lets him drop into coverage as well as pursue down the line of scrimmage and make plays – he’s a very good athlete.

Toughness / Durability: Has not missed a game due to injury while at Ohio State. He is very durable and rarely misses a play.

Speed: The senior is fast for a linebacker. He can fill a hole quickly and has good pursuit down the line of scrimmage.

Instincts / Recognition: This middle linebacker has a nose for the ball and is rarely out of position due to his ability to react well and not get fooled by misdirection. He puts in the time in the film room, which translates to him being in the right position on most plays.

Pass Rush: This Buckeye is a productive blitzer who has good pursuit speed to get to the quarterback. He doesn’t have a variety of moves and usually relies on his athleticism to slip blocks.

Pursuit: Laurinaitis has good sideline-to-sideline speed. He never gives up on a play, covers a lot ground and closes quickly.

Tackling: In the open-field, he is a sure tackler – he fills the hole and brings down the ball carrier.

Coverage: Not just a run stopper, he drops into coverage well. He is quick and has the ability to cover running backs and tight ends.

Shedding Blocks: He uses his hands well to get off blocks at the point of attack and, displays an understanding of the game and a sound technique that make him a handful for opponents. Laurinaitis is strong, but he sometimes allows linemen get into his body and he can struggle to disengage, which is typical of a college linebacker.

Photo Credit: Collegiate Images