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Rocco Adjusts Defensive Coaching Assignments

February 17, 2011  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Asa Chapman, a fourth-team All-America defensive lineman in 2010, will be one of Liberty's defensive leaders in the upcoming 2011 season.

Asa Chapman, a fourth-team All-America defensive lineman in 2010, will be one of Liberty's defensive leaders in the upcoming 2011 season.

Liberty Head Football Coach Danny Rocco has restructured his defensive coaching staff for the upcoming 2011 season, adjusting several responsibilities within his five-member defensive leadership team.

"In an effort to continue to build our program and to compete at the highest level, I have decided to restructure our defensive staff," stated Rocco. "Every offseason, we evaluate all aspects of our program and look to make any adjustments necessary to improve upon our previous season's results.

"Every year, the team has to be rebuilt, as we look to fill the roles of our departing seniors," continued the three-time national coach of the year candidate. "We are very blessed to have a talented and experienced group of coaches on our staff. I have worked with a number of our defensive coaches at previous stops throughout my career."

In order to "maximize the talents and experience of his staff," Rocco's defensive coaching responsibilities will be realigned as follows for the 2011 season:

Tom Clark (sixth season): Defensive Coordinator/Secondary Coach
Wally Ake (third season): Linebackers Coach
Levern Belin (third season): Defensive Line Coach
Marshall Roberts (eighth season): Special Teams Coordinator/Assistant Secondary Coach
Manny Rojas (second season): Assistant Linebackers Coach

Clark, who was assisting with Liberty's linebackers last year, will now oversee the Flames' secondary along with his defensive coordinator duties. Clark has been Rocco's defensive coordinator since Rocco took over the program in 2006. 

Ake will be making the switch from secondary coach to linebackers. Roberts, an eight-year veteran of Liberty's coaching staff, will now be assisting Clark with the secondary after focusing his efforts with Liberty's cornerbacks in 2010.

Belin and Rojas will remain in their same coaching positions as defensive line and assistant linebackers coaches, respectively.

Liberty finished the 2010 season ranked No. 19 in the final FCS Coaches poll and No. 21 in the last Sports Network/ listing, following an 8-3 season and a fourth-straight Big South Conference title run.

During Rocco's first five years at the helm of Liberty's football program, the Flames have consistently ranked among the national leaders in several defensive categories.

Liberty has ranked inside the Top 25 four out of the last five years in scoring defense, including No. 24 in 2010 by allowing 20.18 points per game. Liberty also finished this past season ranked No. 17 nationally in total defense, having allowed an average of 309.18 total offensive yards per game.

The Flames will begin their spring practice regime on March 24, with the team's annual spring game scheduled for April 16 at 1 p.m. at Williams Stadium. Liberty will officially open its 2011 slate in Raleigh, N.C., on Sept. 3, when the Flames square off with ACC foe N.C. State.