Woodrum will look to continue to improve during his Junior season

Woodrum will look to continue to improve during his Junior season

Spring practice is slated to start on Tuesday, March 18th, and here are a few key position battles to keep your eye on:

Tight end
With Brandon Apon, Peter Gagliardi, and Michael Johnson all gone, Liberty’s weakest offensive position entering spring ball is clearly tight end. The only returner with significant experience is senior Dexter Herman who caught 5 passes for 78 yards and 2 touchdowns a season ago. West Virginia transfer & mid-year enrollee Will Johnson should be expected to figure into the mix at tight end as well. Others on the roster include Garrett Long, Tyler Meeks, and Canon Smith.

Uzowihe looks to anchor the Flames' defensive front in 2014

Uzowihe looks to anchor the Flames’ defensive front in 2014

Defensive line
The two positions Coach Gill singled out when previewing the springs’ position battles were defensive line and defensive back. Liberty will have to replace starting interior lineman Cory Freeman, Francis Bah, and Jibrille Fewell, but can rely on Chima Uzowihe who Coach Gill says he is “expecting to compete for defensive player of the year” in the Big South in 2014. Chima blossomed in his 2nd year with the Flames as he finished 2nd in the Big South with 7 sacks, but his stats don’t record all the havoc he caused in the backfield for opposing quarterbacks. With him, Toby Onyechi, and Dominique Davis the Flames should be set at defensive end. There are gaps on the inside though, as Liberty hopes JaRon Greene and Dylan Bowman can help replace the aforementioned departures.

Defensive back
The strength of the Flames’ stout defense in 2013 was their all-conference cornerbacks Walt Aikens and Kevin Fogg.  Kenny and Wesley Scott will be the early favorites to replace Aikens & Fogg. Both Kenny and Wesley had very productive 2013 campaigns. Kenny now has a couple years of solid experience under his belt primarily playing nickel back. Depth at the position will need to be developed, and Gill mentioned redshirt-freshmen Tyrin Holloway and Justin Guillory saying they have “a lot of talent, (but are) just inexperienced.”

Spring practice schedule
Practice #1                         March 18 (Tuesday)
Practice #2                         March 20 (Thursday)
Practice #3                         March 22 (Saturday)
Practice #4                         March 25 (Tuesday)
Practice #5                         March 27 (Thursday)
Practice #6                         March 28 (Friday)
Practice #7                         March 29 (Saturday) *
Practice #8                         April 1 (Tuesday)
Practice #9                         April 3 (Thursday)
Practice #10                       April 5 (Saturday) *
Practice #11                       April 8 (Tuesday)
Practice #12                       April 10 (Thursday)
Practice #13                       April 12 (Saturday) *                        2 p.m. (Spring Game)
Practice #14                       April 15 (Tuesday)
Practice #15                       April 17 (Thursday)
* – Practice with Officials