After spending his first 2 years as an assistant coach at Liberty as wide receivers coach, Ron Brown has transitioned to coaching the running backs for 2017. This is the 3rd stop in Brown’s career where he’s been coach of the RBs, adding to his last 2 coaching stints at Nebraska and Youngstown
RB #34 Carrington Mosley R-Senior 5’11” 235 Brookneal, VA
RB #23 Frankie Hickson R-Sophomore 5’8″ 200 Lynchburg, VA
RB #22 Todd Macon R-Senior 5’10” 210 St. Petersburg, FL
RB #6 Kentory Matthews Junior 5’10 175 Virginia Beach, VA
RB #21 Mitchell Lewis R-Freshman 6’0″ 220 Auburn, AL
RB #9 Frank Boyd Freshman 5’11” 180 Chesterfield, VA
RB #30 Zach Samborski Freshman 5’10” 175 Lancaster, NY
“If our room was at a 10, its at a 10,000 right now,” senior running back Carrington Mosley said of Brown’s energy coaching the backs. “Going from Coach (Scott) Downing, who was a kind of cool, laid back guy, Coach Brown brings a lot of intensity to our room. He’s a high energy guy. He pushes us. He tries to get the most out of us in every single thing that we do. Managing our time is the biggest thing he’s taught us. What can we do with a minute or 30 seconds? How can we maximize our game?”
Coach Brown takes over a very deep group of backs that rushed for over 1,700 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2016 led by a 3-headed monster of Carrington Mosley, Todd Macon, and Frankie Hickson. All 3 return, but Macon will be sidelined at the beginning of the season after suffering a knee injury during the spring.
“It’s a very steady group,” Brown explained. “Last year, I thought we really had a 3-headed monster there. C-MO (Mosley) is a very, very powerful inside runner. Todd kind of does it all. Frankie is a darter, he has really good speed and can matriculate the ball down the field with a lot of energy.”
Mosley broke onto the scene in a big way in 2016, leading the team in rushing with 663 yards and 5 touchdowns on 144 carries. He enters 2017 atop the depth chart.
“He’s a very intelligent guy,” Coach Brown said of the redshirt-senior who’s nickname is C-MO. “He really knows the game. He gets people lined up. He knows a lot of the positions. You could ask him about the scheme of the play, the concept of the play, and he’s got a coaches’ viewpoint.”
At 5’11” and 235 pounds, Mosley is one of the strongest guys on the team, and he uses that strength to his advantage in running the ball.
“He’s a powerful guy. He may be, man-for-man, pound-for-pound, inch-for-inch, the strongest guy on the football team,” Coach Brown said. “He’s got some weightlifting records. He’s a very, very powerful guy, but he’s used a lot of good wisdom and discretion in how he’s working out. He knows he doesn’t have to go squat the world and bench-press the world. He’s just fine-tuning his strength, but I think he’s made real good progress.”
Frankie Hickson is coming off his redshirt-freshman season where he was named second-team all-Big South and all-state as a return specialist, but he’s also proved his value at the running back position where he totalled 450 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns on just 94 carries.
His freshman season allowed him to “get the cobwebs out” as Coach Brown described. “Frankie’s an emotional guy and he runs emotionally. He runs with passion.”
Hickson agrees with his coach, saying the game is starting to slow down for him. “I’m letting the game come to me (now). Most people, their freshman year, what they do is they try to attack everything rather than letting the game come to them. I’m just letting my offensive line do what they do and the rest of my offense do what they do, and just take every advantage that I have.”
“The thing I like about Frankie,” Brown said, “is he really wants to be good. He is a searcher, learner. He really takes the time to detail out his assignments. He can tell you on every single play what he’s got in detail, and even though C-MO has a little more experience, Frankie is going to be that guy. He’s got a chance to be a really good leader. I think the key thing with Frankie is just improving the breadth of his game – being a good inside runner, a good outside runner, a good hands guy, a good receiver, doing it all. He is explosive. He can put his foot in the dirt and he can get north. He’s got track speed. He’s a great kick return guy, and he’s a great punt cover guy. There’s a lot of things he does that are really valuable.”
After Todd Macon went down to injury in the spring, his initial timeline of being able to return was October-November, but it sounds like he may be ready towards the beginning of that timeline.
“Todd is making a tremendous comeback,” Brown said of the injured Macon. “He’s made real good progress. He’s out here doing some stuff (during camp). He’s able to move around a little bit. He’s taken a great attitude on things. Lord willing, with God’s help, he’ll be back, I hope, not much longer than October. I’m hoping to get him in early October.”
Behind those 3 is a lot of inexperience, beginning with JUCO transfer Kentory Matthews who comes to Lynchburg by way of Blinn Junior College in Texas. He’s originally from Virginia Beach where he attended Tallwood High School. Last season at Blinn, Matthews rushed for 630 yards and 5 touchdowns on 122 carries.
“Kentory Matthews,” Coach Brown said of the JUCO transfer, “can really dip and dart. He’s a very athletic young man who does a lot of things for you. He’s our smallest back, but he’s got tremendous quickness and speed.”
Mitchell Lewis switched to running back from fullback after Macon’s injury in the spring. He red-shirted during his true freshman campaign in 2016. Brown compares him to a younger Carrington Mosley. “Mitchell Lewis is a big power back, kind of fits the mold a little like C-MO, a big, strong guy who runs pretty well.”
True freshman Frank Boyd hopes to force his way on to the field in 2017. He comes to Liberty from Manchester High School just outside of Richmond where he was named conference player of the year, first team all-region and all-state as a senior after running for 1,615 yards and 20 touchdowns.
“Frank is a track guy from high school who can really accelerate,” Brown states. “He can get through things really quickly.”
Coach Gill loves the depth and competitiveness that he’s seen from his running back group thus far in camp. “It’s a very competitive position right now and that’s good. We’ve got Frank Boyd, a freshman, he has some talent. Carrington Mosley, Frank Hickson. I like that we have a lot of competitiveness. Running backs, they come and go, they get a lot of nicks and bruises and injuries. So, I can probably feel good about it at this point in time that we have a good, solid group of guys that can play and make plays.”