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2013 Training Camp Position Preview: DL
Throughout Liberty's preseason training camp, LibertyFlames.com will preview each position on the Flames' team, providing insight into the development of each group's players leading up to the Flames' season opener against Kent State on Aug. 29.
Today, we continue our position-by-position preview by looking at the Flames' defensive line position, including insight from defensive line coach Vantz Singletary, senior Cory Freeman and junior Dominique Davis.
Liberty's defensive linemen were presented with a challenge shortly after head coach Turner Gill was named the program's eighth head coach. Gill returned Liberty's defensive scheme to a "4-3" defense, meaning younger players and linebackers had to step up and help fill a fourth position on the Flames' first line of defense.
A group of four players quickly accepted their new directive and by season's end, Liberty finished the year ranked No. 1 in the Big South and No. 24 nationally in rushing defense (126.09 rushing yards allowed per game). The defensive line also helped the Flames ranked No. 15 nationally in total defense (314.73 total yards allowed per game).
Two of Liberty's front four starters have graduated, with one transitioning to a new role within the program. Bryant Lewellyn, after playing only nine games in three years at Liberty, started all 11 games at nose guard and led the Flames with five sacks. Lewellyn, who was named the Flames' new defensive tackles coach in the offseason, finished his final season overall with 20 tackles (10 solo, 10 assisted).
Demetrius Ward, Liberty's other starting graduate on the defensive line, finished just ahead of Lewellyn with 23 tackles (10 solo, 13 assisted), to go along with 4.5 tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles.
While the right side of the defensive line will need to be replaced, the left side returns two experienced players in seniors Cory Freeman and Francis Bah.
Freeman had a breakout year at defensive end, starting all 11 games and ranking second on the team among defensive linemen with 31 tackles (16 solo, 15 assisted).
Bah battled some injuries at defensive tackle, playing in eight of 11 games. He ranked third on the team with 5.0 tackles for a loss and finished his junior year with 16 stops overall (10 solo, six assisted).
When Bah was not able to go in 2012, he was backed up by Greg Schuster, who finished his four-year career on the defensive line with 38 games played and 19 career starts. Schuster provided the Flames with steady play during his career (91 tackles) and led the Flames' defensive linemen in 2012 with 36 tackles (12 solo, 24 assisted).
Several players developed on the defensive line in 2012 and during the offseason, including Dominique Davis, Jibrille Fewell and Chima Uzowihe, who could help provide the needed efforts to keep this position strong.
Fewell played in all 11 games last year, finishing the season with 21 stops (six solo, 15 assisted), while Davis was named the team's most improved defensive player following spring practice. Fewell is slated to start at nose guard this year, while Davis will showcase his speed on the outside of the line at right end.
Uzowihe found his way into the Flames' lineup later in the year in 2012, starting six games and finishing the season with 13 tackles (seven solo, six assisted), to go along with four tackles for a loss and two sacks.
Defensive Line Depth Chart
Cory Freeman (Sr., 6-4, 265)
Dylan Bowman (R-Jr., 6-3, 245)
Gerald Holt (R-Fr., 6-3, 275)
Spencer Cook (Fr., 6-1, 260)
Francis Bah (Sr., 6-3, 295)
Nolan Spicer (R-So., 6-3, 260)
Leonard Hunt (Fr., 6-0, 285)
Jibrille Fewell (Sr., 6-0, 300)
Roger Bryan (Fr., 6-1, 270)
Ja'Ron Greene (Fr., 6-2, 295)
Dominique Davis (Jr., 6-5, 250)
Chima Uzowihe (So., 6-2, 240)
Erwin Dessources (R-Fr., 6-1, 225)
Marc Wilson (Fr., 6-3, 245)
Full Training Camp Position Preview Schedule:
Aug. 1 – Wide Receivers
Aug. 5 – Defensive Line
Aug. 7 – Quarterbacks
Aug. 10 – Linebackers
Aug. 12 – Tight Ends/Fullbacks
Aug. 14 – Safeties
Aug. 19 – Cornerbacks
Aug. 21 – Offensive Line
Aug. 23 – Special Teams
Aug. 25 – Running Backs