#29 Liberty FCS Football 2013 Preview

Liberty Flames

Overall Rank: #29
#2 Big South
#29 Liberty FCS Football 2013 Preview
Liberty Team Page


Even with a 0-4 start to the 2012 campaign, it became clear that the Flames would be a player in the Big South title race. The team only lost by three points at Wake Forest and had another close loss to Lehigh. Once conference play began, the Flames rolled through every game except a trip to Coastal Carolina, where they lost 36-12. Coach Turner Gill even led his team to a nice 28-14 win over Stony Brook, which made things very interesting in the Big South during the final week of the season. The Flames ended up tied with the Chanticleers and the Seawolves with a 5-1 conference mark, but it was Coastal Carolina who earned the at-large bid.

2012 Record: 6-5, 5-1
2012 Postseason: None
Coach: Turner Gill (6-5 at Liberty, 31-55 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Aaron Stamm
Defensive Coordinator: Robert Wimberly, Vantz Singletary

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Aldreakis Allen, RB, 1,109 yards
Passing: Josh Woodrum, QB, 1,966 yards
Receiving: Aldreakis Allen, RB, 170 yards
Tackles: Scott Hyland, LB, 55
Sacks: Cory Freeman, DE, 2.0; Chima Uzowihe, DE, 2.0
Interceptions: Walt Aikens, CB, 1; Sorie Bayoh, CB, 1; Scott Hyland, LB, 1; Nick Sigmon, LB, 1

Other Key Returnees: DE Francis Bah, OL Malcolm Boyd, S Jacob Hagen, OL Mitch Hanson, CB Kenny Scott, OL Hunter Steward

Key Losses: WR Ryan Ferguson, OL Stan Herring, RB SirChauncey Holloway, WR Pat Kelly, DT Bryant Lewellyn, OL Aaron Lundy, LB Brent Vinson

The Liberty defense was extremely tough to get anything going against in 2012. In their last six games only Coastal Carolina managed to score more than 14 points against the Flames defense. This is not a team that will take a lot of risks, but the hope is the front four can get more pressure on the opposing quarterback this year. If Cory Freeman, Chima Uzowihe and Francis Bah can consistently get into the backfield, the turnovers will come. Brent Vinson, the team’s leading tackler in 2012, is gone, but Scott Hyland and Nick Sigmon are experienced linebackers. Sigmon will help the front four by getting into the backfield. He recorded a team high 11.0 tackles-for-loss last season. The secondary was susceptible at times last year, but they are now a very experienced group that is ready to emerge as the strength of the defense. Cornerback Walt Aikens is one of the best in the conference and Kenny Scott is developing into a tough direction to throw when the opposition is trying to avoid Aikens. However, Scott will have to come in off of the bench again now that Kevin Fogg is healthy. The senior played in just four games in 2012 before suffering a season ending injury. Teamed up with Aikens and back again for his senior campaign, Fogg will have a great year. The depth and talent at corner is impressive and safety Jacob Hagen will garner some awards too.

All of a sudden this is Josh Woodrum’s team and there is good reason to be excited about the sophomore signal caller’s potential. He threw for 1,966 yards and 11 touchdowns as a redshirt freshman, but will need to keep his interceptions down. He has a nice arm and is extremely accurate. The depth behind him is now gone and the roster boasts three freshmen backing up Woodrum. He also lost a few of his favorite targets. Pat Kelly caught 80 passes for 857 yards and was easily the most productive receiver on the squad. The loss of Ryan Ferguson and Elliott Dutra leave Liberty with very little experience out wide. The ground game will be strong when Aldreakis Allen is on the field. He rushed for 1,019 yards and ten scores as a junior. The problem is the lack of depth behind him. SirChauncey Holloway was the tougher back who split carries with Allen and found the end zone seven times. Now Allen will have to carry the load unless junior Desmond Rice or sophomore D.J. Abnar are ready to step up.

The Bottom Line:
There are good reasons to believe that the Flames will be back on top of the Big South standings. There was some adjustment time needed in 2012 as Coach Gill took over the program. They still tied for the league title. This year should be better. The schedule is a little nicer too. Liberty will look to get revenge on Coastal Carolina at home. And Stony Brook, who could use a little revenge on the Flames, has left the conference. It is very likely that the season will come down to the October 19th game between the Big South’s best two teams. It is worth noting that Liberty has a week off prior to that massive game against Coastal Carolina.

Projected Postseason: None

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 175.82 (35th in nation, 5th in conference)
Passing Offense: 225.27 (45, 3)
Total Offense: 401.09 (40, 3)
Scoring Offense: 27.18 (53, 3)
Rushing Defense: 126.09 (24, 1)
Pass Defense: 188.64 (32, 4)
Total Defense: 314.73 (15, 2)
Scoring Defense: 22.18 (38, 2)
Turnover Margin: -0.27 (77, 3)
Sacks: 1.36 (92, 4)
Sacks Allowed: 2.00 (54, 4)


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