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2013 Training Camp Position Preview: LB
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' linebackers position, including insight from defensive coordinator Robert Wimberly, senior linebacker Scott Hyland and junior linebacker Nick Sigmon.
Liberty's linebackers will be the one of the most seasoned groups among the Flames' defensive units in 2013, returning two out of three starters that finished No. 2 and No. 3 on Liberty's defensive statistics lists.
Weakside linebacker Scott Hyland had a breakout campaign in 2012, nearly doubling his career tackle total. The rising senior finished the season with 55 stops (19 solo, 36 assisted) to push him over the 100-career tackle tally (118).
Hyland was honored in 2012 for his efforts on and off the field. He was an All-Big South second-team selection for his play on the field, while being named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District team for his classroom work.
Despite missing the second game of the year with an injury (lingering effects from a concussion suffered against Wake Forest in the season opener), Nick Sigmon still finished the season ranked third on the team in total tackles.
Sigmon led the Big South with 11.0 tackles for a loss and finished the year with 52 total stops (32 solo, 20 assisted). He also played an instrumental role in Liberty's biggest win of the year, a 28-14 victory over No. 6/8 Stony Brook, returning an interception 21 yards for a score to give Liberty its first-ever program victory over a Top 10 team.
Liberty's strong side linebacker position was one plagued by injuries, as the Flames lost starters Bobby Partilla and Thomas Nelson to season-ending injuries during the campaign.
Partilla, who played in seven games and recorded nine tackles (five solo, four assisted), returns as a junior, while Nelson graduated after finishing 2012 with 16 stops (nine solo, seven assisted).
Two other experienced players are in the mix at SAM linebacker, with Andrew Jauch leading the way following spring workouts. Jauch was used in a reserve role in 2012, playing in eight games and recording a pair of tackles.
Senior Chris Mayo started the final two games of the year at the position and was ninth overall on the team with 29 tackles in 2012 (14 solo, 15 assisted). He enters his final year at Liberty second on the roster among active players with 130 career tackles (65 solo, 65 assisted).
Liberty will have untested backups at the WILL and MIKE linebacker positions, but the group is poised again to have another banner defensive year for the Flames.
Linebackers Line Depth Chart
Scott Hyland (Sr., 6-0, 220)
Dallas Griffiths (R-Fr., 6-2, 225)
Dexter Robbins (Fr., 5-11, 215)
Nick Sigmon (Jr., 6-1, 245)
Dylan Lewellyn (So., 6-1, 205)
Jimmy O'Grady (R-So., 6-0, 235)
Andrew Jauch (Jr., 6-0, 200)
Bobby Partilla (Jr., 6-0, 215)
Chris Mayo (Sr., 5-11, 200)
Full Training Camp Position Preview Schedule:
Aug. 1 – Wide Receivers
Aug. 5 – Defensive Line
Aug. 7 – Quarterbacks
Aug. 10 – Tight Ends/Fullbacks
Aug. 12 – Linebackers
Aug. 14 – Safeties
Aug. 19 – Cornerbacks
Aug. 21 – Offensive Line
Aug. 23 – Special Teams
Aug. 25 – Running Backs