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Afternoon Nugz - 08.19.10

ESPN's Rittenberg profiles Mike Rallis this afternoon.

After a very impressive performance in spring ball, Rallis is being viewed as the leader of a unit that loses all three starters from 2009.

Lee Campbell, Nate Triplett and Simoni Lawrence combined for 309 tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss, four interceptions, four fumble recoveries and 18 passes defended last fall. Their departures didn't serve as the primary motivation for Rallis' excitement about the switch, although he acknowledges the obvious.

"You can say there's an opportunity, but there’s also a void that's left," Rallis said. "Someone needs to step up and fill that void. That’s an exciting thing, to have people expecting you to do something. I step up to the challenge. I'm a guy who loves a challenge, and to live up to what those three guys did, we definitely have a challenge in front of us as a group of linebackers."

Rallis really was impressive in the spring game. I remember watching Lee Campbell when he first transitioned to LB and commented that he was always around the ball and seemed to relish contact and getting to the ball. Rallis is a different player than Campbell but he too seems to always be around the ball. This guy is going to make a LOT of plays this fall and he'll be one of our best defenders.