The Eastern Kentucky University football team has a pair linebackers that have played at an all-conference level, but the coaching staff is looking to develop depth beyond those two during preseason practice.
“Practice is off to a great start, it’s fun to watch our guys compete,” Linebackers Coach Chase Gibson said. “Our goal in the offseason was to become more physical. So far I think we’ve raised that bar. We still have a ways to go, but there’s some definite signs of improvement.”
Jeffrey Canady led the team, was second in the Ohio Valley Conference and seventh in the nation with 123 tackles (11.2 tackles per game) last season. The 6-foot, 233-pound senior from Barbourville, Kentucky registered 5.0 tackles for a loss and had 1.5 sacks. Canady had 10 or more tackles in a game seven times. He posted a season-best 17 tackles at Tennessee Tech (Oct. 1) and against Murray State (Nov. 5), that total tied for the 18th most in a single game in FCS football in 2016.
Corey Glass was chosen as a third team preseason All-OVC linebacker by College Sports Madness last week. He started the final nine games of the season last year and finished third on the team with 73 tackles and intercepted two passes. The 5-foot-10, 216-pound junior picked off a pass and returned it 54 yards for a touchdown against Pikeville (Sept. 8) and had a 38-yard interception return at Tennessee State (Oct. 15). Glass tied for 16th in the OVC with an average of 6.6 tackles per game. The Jacksonville, Florida native had a season-best 10 tackles against No. 2 Jacksonville State (Oct. 22) and against Eastern Illinois (Nov. 19).
Other returning players at the position include Damon Lowe, Demontre Boyd, Brentton Ervin and Quinton Locklear. Lowe, a 6-foot-2, 242-pound sophomore from Louisville, played in 10 of the team’s 11 games as a freshman and finished with 22 tackles, 5.0 tackles for a loss and one sack. Boyd, a 6-foot-1, 187-pound junior from Louisville, appeared in one game in 2016. Ervin, a 5-foot-11, 215-pound redshirt sophomore from Louisville, sat out last season after transferring from Kentucky State University. Locklear, a 6-foot-2, 218-pound native of Sanford, North Carolina, redshirted as a true freshman in 2016.
The freshman class included eight linebackers that could be called upon to add depth at a thin position.
“We have a handful of guys that played a lot of significant snaps last year and several new guys that are going to contribute,” Gibson said. “We’re going to rotate a lot of guys in. We’ve got players that bring a lot to the table. So the versatility of our unit is going to be something special.”
EKU will hold its second scrimmage of preseason camp on Saturday beginning at 3:45 p.m. All practices are held at Roy Kidd Stadium and are open to the public. Those who attend are asked to sit in the stadium seats.
The Colonels will open their 2017 season at Western Kentucky on Sept. 2 at 7 p.m. ET. Eastern’s first home game is slated for Sept. 23 against Tennessee Tech. For season ticket information, contact the EKU Athletics Ticket Office at 844-3-GOBIGE.
The Eastern Kentucky University football program has won two national championships, 21 conference titles and has made 21 playoff appearances. No other Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) team has won at least two FCS national titles and 20 or more conference championships.
Preseason Camp Schedule
(Note: dates and times are subject to change)
Friday August 11 OFF
Practice 11 Saturday August 12 3:45 p.m. (Scrimmage)
Practice 12 Sunday August 13 3:45 p.m.
Practice 13 Monday August 14 3:45 p.m.
Practice 14 Tuesday August 15 3:45 p.m.
Wednesday August 16 OFF
Practice 15 Thursday August 17 3:45 p.m.
Practice 16 Friday August 18 3:45 p.m.
Practice 17 Saturday August 19 3:45 p.m. (Scrimmage)
Practice 18 Sunday August 20 3:45 p.m.
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