Josh Aldridge was Liberty’s co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach last season, but now he has left for Auburn and the Flames will look to build at linebacker without him. Robert Bala, who was on the staff as an analyst a year ago, was promoted to linebackers coach when Jamey Chadwell took over as head coach but he has now joined the staff at Alabama.
Josh Linam has taken over as Liberty’s linebackers coach, coming to Liberty from Auburn where he was a defensive analyst working with the linebackers and was previously a senior analyst at Georgia Tech. He also served as linebackers coach at Jacksonville State. In 2017, Linam was a defensive analyst at Temple and was previously a defensive graduate at Florida.
Linebacker will be another position that will be interesting to watch in the spring, and it also wouldn’t be surprising for the coaching staff to pursue another player in the portal following spring practice. The loss of Mike Smith, Jr and Ahmad Walker to the portal is certainly felt.
Tyren Dupree and Aakil Washington provide plenty of experience and talent while Jordan Norwood and Jerome Jolly have a lot of potential. Other names to watch here include Maurice Freeman, III who has moved to linebacker from safety and Kaci Seegars who should be close to full health following an injury that hampered him in 2022.
Dupree is the veteran of the room having played in 12 games last season and recording 47 tackles with 6 tackles for loss and 4 sacks. Washington began his career at defensive end but switched to linebacker full time last spring. In 2022, he played in 13 games with 46 tackles, 35 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.
Behind them there are more question marks and unknowns at this point that will need to be finalized during the spring and into the summer prior to the start of the 2023 season. Jolly has the most experience, playing in 7 games last season with 13 tackles. Norwood played in 3 games as a true freshman last season.
Freeman is an Indiana transfer who was plagued by injuries in 2022 but, if he can remain healthy, should be able to provide solid depth for the Flames at linebacker. Seegars is another guy to keep an eye on if he can get back to full speed as he was a highly rated recruit out of high school that originally committed to Texas A&M.
This spring will allow the new coaching staff to begin to adjust to their new roster at linebacker while the players begin to learn the new scheme and adjust to having a new position coach in Coach Linam. There is some experience and talent at linebacker. This spring should provide a great opportunity for them to develop.
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