Initial names are cool.

AC Green (LA Lakers)

EF Hutton (money, the old fashioned way)

JG Wentworth (structured settlements)

LL Cool J (stands for Ladies Love)

SS Minnow (doomed sea vessel)

TJ Hooker (TV cop)

You get the idea.

And then there is South Dakota State University linebacker, T.J. Lally.

He says his given name is Terrance John Zilligan Lally which is a wicked awesome Irish moniker.  It is also a mouthful and would be a pain in the pants to say every time he made a play so I, for one, thank him for the shortened version.

Lally is a sophomore.  He is from Chicago.  He is built like a pallet of plywood at 6-1 and 230 pounds.  He was a really good running back in high school and he is a really good linebacker in college.

He was second on the team in tackles last year behind Ross Shafrath and he says he learned most of what he knows from Shaf and Chris Tracy as the seniors schooled the freshman in the ways of winning.

"I owe a lot of what I did last year to those guys.  They were patient with me on the field learning it.  Sometimes I didn’t know what I was doing and they would tell me… a lot of good stuff on how to game plan and prepare for teams.  So I owe a lot to those guys.  They were great."

They were.  And Lally will be, too.  He says he is a little heavier this year and a little faster.  And he's got that head start on the head games.

"Mostly mentally is where I’m different... able to understand the defense a lot better.  Even though it is new, there are a lot of similar aspects to it.  And that is a big head start for me because last year I was learning on the fly as the season went so it is nice to know what I’m doing before the season."

"He’s just a football player," says Jacks Defensive Coordinator, Clint Brown, who says he was not all that surprised by the fantastic season Lally turned in last year as a freshman.  "He knows where to be and knows how to get there.  You watch some plays and wonder how did that happen?  He just has that knack."

We will see what happens now that Lally is THE guy at linebacker for the Jacks.  But he is a year older and a year wiser and he is quite confident in what the D can do.

"I think we’re going to be really tough.  We were great last year, but we’ve got a lot of new, exciting pieces we’re going to put in this year.  Not only scheme wise, but a lot of good young guys who are coming in who are real athletic and can make a lot of plays.  And we’re going to run to the ball.  We’re going to be a swarm defense and we’re real excited about that."