The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Dodge, Featherston fill holes at linebacker


With the loss of three senior linebackers following the 2005 season, a key issue this spring for head coach Dennis Franchione and his staff was finding replacements for the position.
Junior Justin Warren is the only player with NCAA experience playing for the Aggies in the fall, and while only two linebackers at a time will be necessary for new defensive coordinator Gary Darnell’s 4-2-5 scheme, it is apparent that someone needs to step up and take on the role.
Franchione said two players have made an impact this spring, one of them being freshman Matt Featherston, who has improved since his first four practices.
But the player who stands out in Franchione’s mind is Mark Dodge, a 25-year-old junior college transfer.
“What’s been really pleasing has been the development of Mark Dodge and how quickly he has learned the defense and made an impact here,” Franchione said. “To be voted on the leadership council is unusual for a junior college player (and he came) in and did in such a short amount of time.”
Dodge, who made six tackles in the Maroon’s 27-24 loss in Saturday’s annual Maroon and White football game, is glad he was able to get into A&M one semester early.
“It was a big deal,” said Dodge of the importance of participating in spring drills. “To be able to come through spring ball and learn the system, for me as a junior college player.. to be on the same page, it really helps.”
Despite Dodge, Featherston and Warren’s success, Franchione said the rest of his linebackers have work to do. But, at the same time, Franchione is excited about a couple players coming in the fall.
“We feel good about those three and of course with Misi Tupe and Anthony Lewis coming in, we’re excited about them coming in and making an impact,” Franchione said.
Tupe and Lewis will be enrolling in the fall. Tupe is a 6 foot, 240 pound junior college transfer, and Lewis was an Army-All American at linebacker as a senior in high school.

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