Following the conclusion of the 2016 football season, LFSN reporter Alan York had a chance to talk with Flames Special Teams Coordinator Scott Downing.
The 2016 season was Downing's first with the football program and three-decade coaching veteran brought a wealth of knowledge with him to Liberty Mountain. Prior to his time at Liberty, Downing served seven years as a head coach and 14 years as a coordinator. He has worked at the FBS level for 26 years, helping coach his teams to 17 bowl appearances.
Downing's inaugural season with the Flames saw Liberty show a marked improvement in several different special teams areas. Liberty finished the year ranked No. 15 in the country in kickoff return yardage (23.03 yards per return) and had its first return for a touchdown since 2011.
Individually, Frankie Hickson made the most of his first season on the field, ranking No. 20 nationally in kickoff return yards (25.2). He finished the year with 707 total kickoff return yards, the second most in school history.
Liberty had 13 of its players earn All-Big South honors in 2016, tying Charleston Southern for the most all-conference honorees. The Buccaneers led all schools in the Big South with eight first-team honorees, while the Flames had the largest grouping of second-team selections with seven.
Liberty's All-Big South first-team selections include: Dante' Shells (Sr., WR), Juwan Wells (So., DL), Nick Newman (Sr., LB), Alex Probert (Fr., K), Trey Turner (Jr., P) and Hunter Winstead (Jr., LS).
The Flames All-Big South second-team honorees include: Kendall Couamin (Sr., TE), Lucas Holder (Jr., OL), Dontae Duff (R-Fr., OL), Dexter Robbins (Sr., LB), Chris Turner (So., DB), Alpha Jalloh (Sr., DB) and Frankie Hickson (R-Fr., KS).
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