Here are a few notables from today’s press conference with Turner Gill, Robert Wimberly, and Joe Dailey as they prepare for this weekend’s Big South game against Presbyterian:
1. FLAMES FOUND A WAY TO WIN AGAINST GARDNER-WEBB.
For the first time this season, Liberty found itself in a close ball game this past Saturday against Gardner-Webb. It was the first time this season a game was decided by single digits. Coach Gill noted it was great to have the team respond in a close game and finding a way to win. The guys stepped up and made plays when needed in order for the Flames to win and stay unbeaten in conference play.
2. PRESBYTERIAN HAS ALWAYS PLAYED LIBERTY CLOSE SINCE GILL HAS BEEN HERE.
Coach Gill made special note of how tight the games always seem to be between Liberty and Presbyterian. Last season, Liberty escaped with a narrow, 21-13, victory in Lynchburg over PC. The Flames last two trips to Clinton, the only times Gill has made the trip, have been very successful. Liberty beat Presby, 56-7, in 2012 and, 28-7, in 2014.
3. PC IS ALWAYS SOLID ON DEFENSE.
Both Coach Gill and offensive coordinator Joe Dailey pointed out that the Hose have always been a solid, very disciplined defensive team. The Blue Hose lead the Big South in 3rd down defense, holding opponents to a 31.4% conversion rate. Presbyterian ranks 16th in all of FCS in 3rd down conversion defense. They have struggled some this season, allowing 430 total yards of offense and 31 points per game.
4. THE BLUE HOSE HAVE BEEN INCONSISTENT ON OFFENSE.
If you look at the Big South statistical rankings, you will notice a familiar patter – Presbyterian in last in most offensive categories. The Blue Hose rank last in the Big South in scoring offense, total offense, rushing offense, yards per rush, touchdowns, yards per play, passing efficiency, rushing touchdowns, passing yards per completion, passing yards per attempt, passing touchdowns, first downs, 3rd down conversions, sacks allowed, red zone offense, the list goes on. Presbyterian’s scoring offense, 10.1 points per game, is not only last in the Big South, its last in the entire country.
The Blue Hose have played 3 quarterbacks this season, leading to some of their inconsistency. Ben Cheek, Will Brock, and John Walker have all started at least one game at quarterback for PC. Ben Cheek started for Presbyterian last week against Coastal, finishing the game 8/17 passing for 133 yards, 1 touchdown, and 3 interceptions. Defensive coordinator Robert Wimberly says he’s preparing for all 3 quarterbacks this week.
5. GILL IS CHALLENGING BOTH LINES TO DOMINATE THIS WEEK.
Liberty’s offensive line has been up and down all season, but Coach Gill emphasized this week that he wants both lines, including the offensive line, to dominate this weekend in Clinton. The Flames’ defensive line has been one of the top units in the entire league, and they shouldn’t slack off any this week. Presbyterian has allowed more sacks than any other team in the Big South.
6. WIMBERLY REVAMPED THE DEFENSIVE GAME PLAN MID-WEEK LAST WEEK.
After practice last Tuesday, Robert Wimberly realized his teams weren’t quite grasping the defensive game plan. He decided to get together with the rest of his defensive staff and revamp the defensive game plan for the Gardner-Webb game. Amazingly, the defense performed very well despite changing game plans mid week. The Flames gave up no explosive runs against the top two rushers in the Big South.
7. INJURY REPORT.
Offensive lineman Tanner Hartman and wide receiver Damian King are out. Tight end Zac Foutz and cornerback Malik Matthews are questionable. Offensive lineman Aharown Campbell is doubtful.