On Tuesday, Liberty’s new defensive coordinator Scott Symons met with the media to give an update on his defense during week 2 of training camp.
“Our D-Line is considerably more talented than we were in the spring,” Symons said in summation of his defense. “I think our corners are competing. I think our linebackers have improved tremendously. I’m excited about some of our growth at the safety position. All the way across the board we are making strides in the right direction, it’s just how quickly can we get there.”
It’s no secret that the Flames’ defense struggled considerably last year, having surrendered 36.8 points per game and nearly 500 yards of offense each contest. Symons previously held the position of DC at Division II West Georgia for four seasons from 2014-2017. During that time, Symons’ defense helped opponents to 17.1 points and 291.5 yards of total offense. Symons coached two defensive All-Americans, including the GSC Defensive Player of the Year in Dylan Donahue who has played with the New York Jets. Donahue and two other defensive players under Symons at West Georgia have made it to the NFL.
“I think we’ve improved from the spring,” Symons stated Tuesday. “It all starts up front. The line of scrimmage has very rarely been changed on us in camp. We’ve got some big guys up front. I think our linebacker room has increased from a physicality standpoint when you look at guys like Waylen Cozad, Aubrey Williams. Guys that are going to strike you.”
The Flames added several new faces to the defensive line during the offseason including three JUCO transfers at defensive tackle that are expected to make immediate impacts. Symons would like to get to the point where his entire defensive roster features a quality 2-deep that he is confident to throw into the fire at even given time.
“We don’t really have 1s and 2s here,” he stated. “In today’s college football, when you play 80, 85 snaps against some of these tempo offenses, you’ve got to have depth, and we understand that. I’d rather have a quality 2-deep that I trust that can play hard every single snap, than have just a bunch of guys that play every single snap. They are going to be gassed. That depth is key and, obviously, year 1 here with us just recruiting one class that depth might not be all the way where we want it yet, but I’m proud of the way some of the guys have improved and the positions that they have put themselves in to be consistent.”
Cornerback Bejour Wilson, at just 170 pounds, impressed Symons with his physicality in the team’s first scrimmage this past Saturday.
“One of the big challenges for him from last year to this year, is consistently tackling,” Symons said of Wilson. “I was really pleased on Saturday to see how he came up and had some 10 yard routes completed, but he’s tackling AGG in the open field which is one of the biggest wide receivers we’ll see this season, consistently doing it.”
“I think we’re playing pretty hard. I’m pleased with how we’ve progressed, but also know we need to keep coming further.”