Early this summer, it looked like Lucas may be Purdue’s only returning starter at line backer. However, Dwayne Beckford got whatever he needed to do back in order and was reinstated to the team. That doesn’t take away how important it will be for Lucas to take his game to the next level.
Last year Lucas finished with 82 tackles(10 for loss), 1 sack, 2 fumble recoveries, and 2 forced fumbles. He is probably classified as more of run stopping line backer instead of a pass coverage, though he is more towards balanced. Lucas mainly plays outside linebacker. It will key for him to excel since linebacker has the least experienced depth, along with the offensive line and safeties. The backups are rarely used sophomore Joe Gilliam is his backup, linebacker to defensive end to fullback and back to linebacker Antwon Higgs, and quarterback to linebacker Sean Robinson. With the new 3-4 defense, even his compatriot on the outside could be a position switch in Robert Maci.
There are two main things for Lucas to improve on this year. The first is pass coverage. Not only will it make him a balanced linebacker, but Purdue has gotten killed lately on slants to the middle and by tight ends(who are covered by the OLBs 90% of the time). The other main thing is his consistency. Lucas had a tendency to kind 0f disappear for a game or two at a time and then have a couple good games, then revert back to disappearing.
Lucas needs to have a good year. Who knows if Beckford can keep himself out of trouble as that would only increase the importance. Lucas needs to step up and take over the linebacker core not only with performance, but as a leader. Based on interviews I’ve read with him and anything I’ve heard about him, he has the mental makeup to do so.