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Training Camp Position Preview: FB/TE
Throughout the month of August, LibertyFlames.com and the Flames Sports Network will be previewing each position on Liberty's football roster, continuing today with a look at Liberty's fullbacks and tight ends.
Along with today's written preview about the offensive line, FSN reporter Nick Pierce had a chance to talk co-offensive coordinator Aaron Stamn, who oversees the Flames' tight ends, fullbacks and kickers.
When head coach Turner Gill came to Liberty Mountain in December, one of the options that he found to his benefit on the Flames roster was an abundance of big-body blockers to give his coaching staff multiple options when it comes to the fullbacks and tight ends positions.
Peter Gagliardi looks to lead this considerable section of players after producing a solid season for the Flames in 2011. His blocking efforts helped the Flames finish the year ranked No. 8 in the country in scoring offense (35.91 points per game), No. 19 in passing offense (270.27) and 20th total offense (426.25).
Individually, Gagliardi played in nine games and started four, finishing the year with six receptions for 80 yards and his first collegiate touchdown reception against Coastal Carolina.
Meanwhile, Justin Gunn has been a special teams standout for the Flames in recent years, who look to take over the starting role at tight end after the graduation of Big South all-conference tight end Tommy Shaver (307 yards and two touchdowns in 2011).
Gunn has played a variety of positions for the Flames since he graduated from Renton High School in his hometown of Seattle, Wash., including time at linebacker.
Another player in the mix for a starting role at fullback will be Matthew Baptiste. Redshirting in 2010 and playing a reserve role in 2011 (two games played) has allowed Baptiste to gain a better understanding of Liberty's offense, giving this physical blocker an added advantage on the other players who could challenge for time at the position.
Fullbacks/Tight Ends at a Glance
Matthew Baptiste (So., 5-11, 225)
Peter Gagliardi (Jr., 6-2, 240)
Justin Gunn (Sr., 6-4, 235)
Brandon Apon (Sr., 6-4, 255)
Andrew Cordasco (So., 6-5, 255)
Nikcy Fualaau (R-Fr., 6-0, 220)
Dexter Herman (So., 6-2, 235)
Michael Johnson (So., 6-3, 235)
Kendall Couamin (Fr., 6-2, 225)
Garrett Long (So., 6-4, 235)
Canon Smith (Fr., 6-4, 255)
The Flames will have their first day off since opening training camp on Aug. 2 tomorrow, before Liberty returns to the practice field on Monday morning at 9:15 a.m.
Fans are reminded that Liberty's football practices are closed to the general public, outside of the Flames Fan Fest on Aug. 18.
Season and single game tickets remain on sale for the 2012 season through the Flames Ticket Office. For more information about tickets, contact the Flames Ticket Office at (434) 582-SEAT (7328) or by email at email@example.com.