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 linebackers.
Along with today's written preview about the linebackers, FSN reporter Nick Pierce had a chance to talk to Carl Torbush, a former two-time head coach and the Flames newest linebackers coach.
Having run a "3-4" defensive scheme for the last six seasons, the depth in Liberty's linebacking corps should be one of the program's defensive strengths heading into the 2012 season.
A pair of underclassmen finished as Liberty's top linebacking tacklers in 2011 (Nick Sigmon and Scott Hyland).
Sigmon earned Big South second-team all-conference honors after finishing the year with 60 tackles (30 solo, 30 assisted). The sophomore, who will enter the year as the starter at MIKE linebacker, finished as one of Liberty's most consistent defenders on the season, recording six or more tackles in six games.
During his second year with the program, Hyland ranked two spots behind Sigmon on Liberty's overall tackles list. He recorded 46 hits in 2011 (22 solo, 24 assisted) and ranked fourth on the team with five tackles for a loss.
Both Sigmon and Hyland started all 11 games at their respective MLB and JACK linebacker positions in 2011, which is different from the third member of Liberty's projected starting linebacking unit.
Following the graduation of Mike Connolly (40 tackles) and the move of Demetrius Ward to the defensive line, Bobby Partilla moved two spots up the depth chart during the offseason to become the starter at SAM linebacker. In 2011, Partilla served in a reserve role at the DROP linebacker position, recording 16 tackles (7 solo, 9 assisted).
Gill's depth chart runs four to five deep at each of the Flames three linebacker positions, which means competition will become a regular part of this groups practice regiment.
Those who impressed the Flames new coaching staff during the spring and could challenge right away for a starting role include Dylan Lewellyn (WILL), Jimmy O'Grady (MIKE) and Marques Jenkins (SAM).
Linebackers at a Glance Front Runners Scott Hyland (WILL) (Jr., 6-0, 220) Nick Sigmon (MIKE) (So., 6-1, 245) Bobby Partilla (SAM) (So., 6-0, 215)
Contenders Chase Griffiths (Jr., 6-3, 230) Marques Jenkins (Sr., 6-1, 225) Dylan Lewellyn (So., 6-1, 205) Jimmy O'Grady (So., 6-0, 235) Nick Martin (Jr., 6-1, 215) Thomas Nelson (Sr., 6-1, 220)
Up-and-Comers Darec Brooks (So., 6-0, 215) D.J. Edmonds (Jr., 6-1, 215) Zach Erickson (R-Fr., 6-0, 255) Dallas Griffiths (Fr., 6-2, 225) Zachary Schreiber (So., 6-1, 210) Randy Spann (So., 5-11, 205)
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