Under new Special Teams Coordinator Tanner Burns, Liberty spends the first two or three periods of every practice working on special teams. These periods are full of energy and team camaraderie.
10 Alex Probert R-JR 5’8″ 180
Probert has had a very successful career at Liberty thus far, beginning as a true freshman in 2016. Last year, he was limited to just four games due to an injury suffered during the preseason.
Special Teams Coordinator Tanner Burns – “He’s probably the most talented kid i’ve ever worked with at the college level for sure. He’s got the big leg potential, the ball jumps off his foot like I haven’t seen other than when I was with Sebastian Janikowski with the Raiders. The kicker I had at Arkansas, he’s up for Lou Groza (Award), very consistent kicker at Arkansas. Alex’s biggest thing, he will hit a 53 yarder with ease and plenty of distance, he did it the other day, then we will get to a 20 yard field goal and miss it left or right. We just gotta be consistent. He’s probably one of the most talented kids I’ve ever worked with, it’s just him with that tennis player mindset we talk about – you miss one, you make one, forget about it, on to the next kick. Got to have that fireman’s ability, punt, kickoff, when our name is called you got to be ready to execute our job.”
90 Jason Stricker FR 6’2″ 180
Stricker is a true freshman who has come and is battling for a spot at both kicker and punter. He was one of the top kickers in North Carolina coming out of high school and had offers from Air Force, Army, Charlotte, Maryland, Navy, TCU, UCF, and Virginia.
Special Teams Coordinator Tanner Burns – “Stricker has come in and done a good job at both kicking and punting, that was good to see.”
85 Stuart Ashley R-FR 5’11” 185
13 Aidan Alves R-SO 6’1″ 220
If you look at Alves final stats, they weren’t that bad. He averaged 37 yards per punt on his 68 punts. Not terrible. The bad thing is he was terribly inconsistent. He had 13 punts that failed to reach 30 yards. Four of those didn’t even reach 20 yards, including two that were less than 10. The Flames need consistency out of Alves this season. He has the potential. 27 of his punts travelled at least 40 yards including four that exceeded 60. Again, consistency.
Special Teams Coordinator Tanner Burns – “We’re a shield punt team. 42 hang time, 42 distance every down. I don’t need a 60 yard punt. That’s where you get big explosive returns. We’re not going to be in the business of that. Whatever our call is, whether in pro-style punt, shield-style punt, we’ll be multiple. Wherever that call is, the direction of that punt, we just need it in that direction. I don’t need the 60 yarders, but we just can’t have the 25, 30 yarders. Just OK is not good enough. We’re going to try to be the best at our position group no matter who we’re playing.”
90 Jason Stricker FR 6’2″ 180
41 Aaron Peart R-SR 6’2″ 200
91 Jake Brickell FR 6’2″ 180
51 Austin Mock R-SO 6’2″ 230
Mock started all 12 games last year as the Flames’ long snapper and his solidified himself in that position again in 2019.
Special Teams Coordinator Tanner Burns – “Austin Mock has done a great job snapping, been real consistent. To me, right now, if we had a game tomorrow, he’d be the only guy for sure I could say would be trotting out there with the 1s.”
54 Andrew Johns FR 6’1″ 200
Johns has joined the team during the offseason as a walk-on from Winter Garden, Florida.
Special Teams Coordinator Tanner Burns – “Working with the 2s. I feel confident if he had to go in the game, he would get the job done.”
5 DJ Stubbs JR 5’9″ 185
Stubbs returns as the team’s top punt returner a season ago, with a long of 60 on his 10 returns.
1 Shedro Louis FR 5’8″ 175
Louis looked really good returning punts in the spring. He will get his opportunities this fall as well.
6 Ceneca Espinoza, JR. R-JR 6’1″ 215
Espinoza was the team’s leading kick returner last season and had a long of 43.
Special Teams Coordinator Tanner Burns – “DJ Stubbs and Shedro both will probably get reps in games at punt returner right now. First kick returner is Shedro and Ceneca is back there as well.”