LIONS INSIDER

LB Doug Hogue has growth spurt; expects bigger role in 2012

Posted Jun 13, 2012

It’s pretty uncommon for a grown man in his 20’s to gain an inch-and-half in height in a little over two months, but that’s exactly what happened to Lions linebacker Doug Hogue, 23, this offseason.

Hogue checked in for the offseason training program in March over 6-foot-3 after being 6-foot-2 last season. The extra inch-and-a-half to his frame has also allowed Hogue to bulk up from 230 pounds -- his playing weight last year -- to 245 pounds.

“I’m carrying it well,” Hogue said of the extra 15 pounds of muscle he’s put on this offseason. “I feel better. I’m running really well and feel great. I like it.”

Lions linebackers coach Matt Burke joked shortly after the offseason training program began that he thought something was fishy when Hogue was a head taller than the other linebackers. For the first time since the Lions selected him in the fifth-round of last year’s draft, Hogue is the beneficiary of an offseason training program. The lockout prevented him from having one as a rookie and he said these last couple months have been invaluable to his development.

“Having that year with the older guys, seeing how they get down and seeing how they compete and make plays, has helped me a lot,” Hogue said. “Now it’s about learning the fundamentals of being a NFL linebacker and OTAs and minicamp have helped me out with that.”

Hogue was inactive the first three weeks of the season last year but was activated Week 4 against the Cowboys after starting linebacker Justin Durant suffered a concussion against the Vikings in Week 3 and reserve linebacker Isaiah Ekejiuba was lost for the season (shoulder) in that same game. Hogue played mostly on special teams a season ago, but is hoping to play a bigger role this year, possibly as the team’s fourth linebacker.

“Absolutely huge,” Burke said of the benefit this offseason should have for Hogue. “I actually had the conversation with Doug before he left (after the season) and said, “Hey man, this is a big offseason for you.’

“For a kid like that who hadn’t played a lot of linebacker in his life and in his career, this is big and we expect him to develop a lot more. It’s on him to pick up some of that stuff.”

Hogue was a running back for the first two seasons of his college career at Syracuse and has only been playing linebacker a total of three years.

“Especially coming from last year’s experience into these OTAs, I feel like I have to take that next step,” Hogue said. “I’m letting myself down if I don’t. I’m making progress and making it happen.”

Hogue will compete with Ashlee Palmer and rookies Tahir Whitehead and Travis Lewis for that fourth linebacker spot vacated by the departure of Bobby Carpenter in the offseason.

He physically fits the bill, especially with the added height and weight. We'll have to wait and see how much the offseason training program benefitted Hogue when he comes back for training camp at the end of the July and the pads come on.