Over the course of these previews, we've spent a bit of time talking about which guys were ready to play and which guys weren't. Some guys were ready to play and didn't for one reason or another. Some guys weren't ready to play, but played anyway for some reason.
Zach Bradshaw was ready. This was clear from the moment he stepped onto the field in training camp. He came out of camp on the 2-deep, as the backup WLB. He didn't play in the opener against BYU, and then he injured his wrist during practice before the Oregon game. At this point, it seemed likely that Bradshaw would redshirt. A redshirt would give him a chance to heal fully and leave him with 4 more years of eligibility, during which he could become a very good LB.
But, that ended during the Georgia Tech game, when Bradshaw received his first career start. As a rule, if a freshman hasn't played through 7 games, there's little reason to play them in the final 5 games. If there had been an injury to one of the starting LBs, then I could see Bradshaw getting some playing time. However, starter DaQuan Romero wasn't hurt. I'm not sure why Bradshaw started over Romero, but Romero still had most of the playing time and led the team with 10 tackles. Bradshaw played only a handful of snaps and finished with 1 tackle.
On the season, Bradshaw had 10 tackles, including 2 for loss. He also broke up a pass. Much of his playing time over the season came in garbage time. Doesn't it seem likely that somebody else could've taken those snaps? Darius Lee or the since-departed Demeitre Brim couldn't have come up with the same 10 tackles?
Once again, this seems like a mistake from the coaching staff. If Bradshaw was so good that he needed to play, he should've been on the field more. If he wasn't good enough to be on the field more, he shouldn't have played at all. If he was going to be a starter this year, then I could understand the need to play him. But Romero is still here, and is unquestionably the start at WLB. Bradshaw isn't even guaranteed to be the primary backup, as he is currently listed as a co-backup with D.J. Hill.
All in all, it seems like another horrendous decision to play Zach, despite the fact that he was ready to play.