NACOGDOCHES, Texas (Press Release) – Take a glance at some of the top linebackers in recent Stephen F. Austin history and it reads like a whos'-who of all-conference players.
Jeremiah Trotter. Eric Lokey. Jabara Williams. Collin Garrett. Justin Owens.
The Lumberjacks are hoping to add a name or two to that list in 2016, and with just two returning starters in the mix, there will be plenty of opportunities for youngsters to make a name for themselves.
The group will be led by returning senior starters Price Miller and George Stone, both of which had impressive performances in their first year in Nacogdoches. Miller tied for second in tackles with 52, and along with Patrick Martin is the top returning tackler for the Lumberjacks, while Stone registered 26 stops with 3.5 tackles for loss.
The rest of the group is comprised of a contingent which includes a sophomore, three redshirt freshmen and a pair of incoming freshmen. Ryan Woods is the only other positional member that saw action in 2015, playing in three games, with Teddy Britton, Spencer Chokaand Anthony Jacobs utilizing their redshirt seasons. Freshmen Fre'Zarian Harrison and Noah Salinas round out the depth in the middle.
As day eight of fall camp began Wednesday, skies remained cloudy but the rain held off for the morning session of the second two-a-day schedule of camp. It also provided another day of welcomed heat release as the 'Jacks hosted a 19-period practice on the turf at Homer Bryce Stadium.
Of all the positions on the field, the linebackers are one of the easiest to spot as they are the only group with a white stripe across the crown of the helmet. It's not necessarily for aesthetic appeal but rather for the SFA coaching staff, giving them an opportunity to watch on film where the linebackers' eyes are focused on a given play.
As has been the case all camp, the first few periods of practice had a heavy focus on special teams, followed by a two-minute situations in which the linebacker two-deep each participated in one series, looking to keep the offense out of the endzone.
After a few periods of individual fundamental drills, the Lumberjacks focused on blitz packages, an area in which the linebackers factor to play a major role in 2016. Seven-on-seven and full squad periods closed out the morning session, finishing with the defense holding strong inside the red zone.
With Miller and Stone serving as the mentors, the rest of the Lumberjack linebackers have had the opportunity to rotate in on different teams, getting a chance to work with each other under defensive coordinator Matt Williamson's system. While the experience the group has isn't on par with a number of other positions, the potential for the young players to make significant contributions, for a number of years, gives the defensive coaching staff a great deal of optimism.
SFA heads into Thursday with a scheduled 3:45 p.m. practice in shells, once again contingent on whether the rain and lightning will hold off. Following the next two practices, SFA will host its second scrimmage of the fall season, getting underway at 4 p.m. Saturday, August 20th, at Homer Bryce Stadium.
2016 STEPHEN F. AUSTIN FALL CAMP SCHEDULE