2022 Players Top 50: #34 Liam Byrnes
Liam Byrnes graduated from Marquette with a master’s degree in team defense. Since moving him from LSM to close defense halfway through 2021, the Waterdogs LC defense has been dominant.
Byrnes patrols the interior. He’s Eddy Glazener without a mic. At all times, Byrnes knows who the greatest threat on the field is and he has a plan to defuse the situation.
This hedge-and-recover sequence is a prime example. It’s the type of defense that looks like nothing happened, until you re-watch closely to realize everything happened. Byrnes begins inside. As Matt Whitcher forces Bryan Cole underneath, Byrnes hedges to deter a crease dive (like the one Cole scored on in the fourth quarter). Once the threat of the crease dive subsides, Byrnes peels. His original assignment (Justin Guterding) is now on the wing – and Ryland Rees is closing out to him. So Byrnes books it towards Rees’s man (Chris Aslanian) inside to prevent a shot.
Crease Collapse of the Week: Liam Byrnes hedges to the wing dodge, peels, and as Ryland Rees closes out to Byrnes’ assignment popping, Byrnes finds Rees’ assignment inside pic.twitter.com/9vBMpw65yI— Joe Keegan (@joekeegs) June 14, 2022