Delegal, Schiller look to lead linebackers

By Tony Osborne

DeKALB | With the absence of the three starting linebackers from 2010, a few seniors have stepped up to fill the positions for the 2011 football season.

Former Huskie linebacker Alex Kube graduated, Tyrone Clark is sitting out the year due to personal reasons and Devon Butler is out for the season as a result of a gunshot wound in an April 5, 2011 shooting.

Butler has since recovered and has been seen at every NIU fall football camp, along with Clark, in high spirits and even higher enthusiasm.

“Between Devon and Tyrone, their enthusiasm really brings us up,” said senior linebacker Patrick Schiller. “When we are feeling tired and feeling down, we just look to the sidelines, and we know they would do anything to be out there with us.”

Butler played in every game last season and started in all but one of those games.

During that time, Butler accumulated 80 tackles with 4.5 sacks.

Coming into the 2011 season, the Huskies are starting three different linebackers than the previous year.

“That’s the game,” said senior linebacker Jordan Delegal. “When one guy’s gone, the next one has to step up and know what to do,”

Delegal and Schiller are expected to be two of the three starters at linebacker; one spot is up for grabs.

“We have all put in our time, and it’s time to shine,” Delegal said.

Delegal enters his senior season with 67 tackles and four sacks in 27 games as a Huskie.

Schiller is coming into his senior season with 124 tackles and three forced fumbles.

The Geneva, Ill. native has since been moved to the starting middle linebacker position since Butler’s absence, although he is no stranger to starting games. Schiller spent his freshmen, sophomore and part of his junior season as a both a starter and part of the rotation for linebackers.

“It feels great. I feel comfortable at any linebacker spot, but it is a compliment that the coaches had trust in me to put me in the middle and call the shots,” Schiller said.

Camp came to a close Saturday, and although the offense has shined early in camp, the defense has been working to be a menace on the field.

“You’re going see dogs, hungry every play, every down,” Delegal said.