Throughout the month of August, LibertyFlames.com will run a series of interviews with each of Liberty's position coaches, getting further insight into each position leading into the 2015 season.
LibertyFlames.com concludes its position previews today with a look at the Flames tight ends and fullbacks, two positions that will be looking for new starters in 2015.
Tight end Dexter Herman graduated last year after starting all 14 games in 2014. He finished the year ranked third on the team with 30 receptions, while adding 442 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He was named to the All-Big South second team, marking the eighth time in the last 10 season a Liberty tight end has earned all-conference honors.
Nicky Fualaau started eight of the 11 games he played in, but the fullback was dismissed from the program following spring practice. In 2014, he was used mostly in blocking schemes that helped running back D.J. Abnar rush for 1,289 yards and 15 touchdowns. Fualaau finished the year with four receptions for 31 yards, while adding 11 carries for the same amount of yardage.
Three players emerged as potential starters in these roles during the spring. Junior Kendall Couamin looks to have secured the first tight end starting role (Y), while fellow junior Canon Smith will be Liberty's second starting tight end (U) when the Flames use a two tight end formation.
Smith will also serve as Couamin's back-up at the "Y" tight end spot, while sophomore Tyler Meeks will be the backup at the "U" tight end spot and overall third player in the tight end rotation.
Couamin and Smith both saw playing time in all 14 games during last season, with Couamin starting two contests and Smith getting the start in one game. Couamin finished the year with four receptions for 28 yards, while Smith recorded two receptions for 10 yards.
West Virginia transfer Will Johnson saw playing time in 13 of 14 games during his first year with the Flames, with most of his time on the field coming as part of Liberty's special teams unit. Johnson, along with freshman Zac Foutz and redshirt sophomore Christian Morgan will provide depth at tight end.
Sophomore Thomas Kennedy is the leading candidate to take over as the Flames starter at fullback, while redshirt freshman Buddy Edwards will serve as his backup.
Kennedy started back to back games for the Flames in 2014, helping Liberty to wins over Brevard and No. 25 Bryant. The sophomore finished the year with one reception, which was a four-yard touchdown against Bryant in the third quarter that helped the Flames pull away from the national ranked Bulldogs.
Tight Ends/Fullbacks Positions at a Glance: (Depth Chart following August Training Camp)
Starters TE (Y) – Kendall Couamin (Jr., 6-2, 240) TE (U) – Canon Smith (Jr., 6-4, 255) FB – Thomas Kennedy (So., 5-11, 230)
Back-Ups (TE) – Will Johnson (Jr., 6-6, 255) (TE) – Tyler Meeks (So., 6-4, 230) (FB) – Buddy Edwards (R-Fr., 6-0, 230)
Reserves (TE) – Zac Foutz (Fr., 6-4, 220) (TE) – Christian Morgan (R-So., 6-4, 255)
Practice Update: Head Coach Turner Gill gave his players the day off on Saturday and Liberty will now resume its normal in-season game week schedule. The Flames will hold a lighter practice on Sunday night, followed by their normal day off on Monday. Liberty's first full practice of the week will be on Tuesday where they will continue to prepare for their season opener against Delaware State.
LibertyFlames.com's coverage of the Flames' August training camp will wrap up tomorrow with a behind the scenes look at this year's team entry video shoot.
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