The Flames will participate in its 5th of 15 spring practices Tuesday evening, and for the first time since the spring practice session began, we spoke with Coach Gill to get his assessment of the team at this point.

  1. The team has had a few people that have missed time with flu-like symptoms.
  2. Coach Gill says practices have been more intense than in the past with a lot more competition at a lot of positions across the board.
  3. 5 newcomers are taking part in spring practice as Colorado transfer WR Johnny Huntley, JUCO transfers WR Kevin Shaa, defensive tackles Vincent Elefante and Devin Pearson, and high school defensive back Hunter Goetz have enrolled for the spring semester. Gill says while they’re still getting acclimated, they’re athleticism is evident. “Just in general, they’re athleticism, we love what we see. We made some great choices. They have the talent, now it’s just over a period of time they need to get acclimated and fit into the scheme.”
  4. Gill is especially pleased with the defensive tackles Elefante and Pearson and says having them on campus this semester is a huge boost for that position. “I think no question they’re going to help us. They’ve already shown some improvement each and every day. We definitely upgraded (the defensive line) from where we were last year. We just hope we can continue to keep everyone healthy.”
  5. As we mentioned last week, rising junior Brandon Tillmon has switched from safety to linebacker. Tillmon said he first learned of the move at the conclusion of the 2017 season when Defensive Coordinator Robert Wimberly called him to his office. “Do you have aspirations of playing at the next level?” Wimberly asked Tillmon. He went on to explain that Brandon could reach his full potential and be able to help the team out the most at that position. Tillmon ended last season weighing in at 205 pounds. He says he’s currently at about 215 and hopes to get up to 225-230.
  6. ESPN just released their preseason FPI rankings for all 130 FBS teams. Liberty checks in at #117, ahead of Coastal Carolina, UConn, San Jose State, Charlotte, South Alabama, Hawaii, Georgia State, Ball State, Louisiana, Texas State, Rice, Kent State, and UTEP. The Flames’ 2018 opponents are ranked as follows: #7 Auburn, #74 Virginia, #88 North Texas, #92 UMass, #96 Troy, #97 Army, #111 New Mexico State, #113 ODU, and #115 New Mexico.