#21 Liberty dropped its first game of the season to fall to 8-1, following the team’s 15-14 loss at NC State. Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze met with the media following the win. Here’s everything he said:
TAKE ME THROUGH THE FINAL MINUTES.
“Yeah, that was exactly what we did (set up for a field goal). We talked about in on the headsets and felt like he earned that right. Obviously, now maybe we should have been more aggressive, but we gave ourselves a chance to win it there with him. I have to see the film to see exactly, but the kick looked really low. Obviously, disappointed, felt like our kids played their guts out as hard as they could for us. For me, myself, I didn’t have a good enough plan for us to score enough points, just not a good feeling. Proud of them though, proud of the way they fought. Thought the defense played their hearts out and gave us plenty of chances to win the football game.”
WHAT DID NC STATE DO TO MAKE LIFE TOUGH ON MALIK TONIGHT?
“They are by far the most athletic team that we have played. They’re healthy, they got all their kids back, number one, that middle linebacker is a first rounder. He gave us fits all night. I don’t know if we blocked him all night. They were very athletic at every position. The gaps on Malik closed extremely fast. I thought we had a couple shot plays, we run the routes, and the ball just hung in the air a lot. His fundamentals were a little jittery, throwing off his back foot some tonight. He hasn’t really experienced this type of pressure. He’s hurting. I’m hurting because I don’t feel like I helped him enough, but, man, you go toe to toe with a team in the ACC that I think’s one of the top 3 or 4 talented teams in that group and had a chance to win it. I’m proud of them for that, but it does sting.”
YOUR DEFENSE MADE SOME ADJUSTMENTS AT HALFTIME, WHAT WERE YOU ABLE TO DO TO GIVE YOURSELF A CHANCE?
“We won’t go into exactly what we did at halftime, but Scott and them had a good plan to stop the stretch which was the play that was hurting us. They did a heck of a job. Scott and all those defensive guys did a heck of a job containing this offense and giving our team a chance to win the game.”
WHAT WAS YOUR MESSAGE TO THE TEAM AFTER THE GAME?
“Man, something special is happening here at Liberty, in our football program. We have a lot to play for. I hurt for you, I hurt with you. We’ve got a short week to get back on the field and try to get our 9th win and then go play a top 25 team to end the regular season. There’s still a lot to play for. Our kids understand that, they will be ready. We just don’t like the feeling of losing a game that we felt like we had a chance to win.”
ON MALIK’S 3 INTERCEPTIONS, WAS THERE ANYTHING DIFFERENT HE COULD HAVE DONE?
“The seam route to Stubbs, he just overthrew it, threw it high. I don’t know if he had pressure in his face or something, he just threw that one high. The one where we had Shedro on a double move, I was looking to see if Shedro was winning his route, when I saw he was, I looked at the ball and it just, I don’t know if he threw it off his back foot, but it hung up in the air forever and the middle safety got all the way over to get it. It was hung inside too, that ball’s got to be outside. I think the same thing on the other one. We will have to go study it and see. Kent will work really hard at it with him on looking at what happened tonight.”
GIVE US YOUR ASSESSMENT ON YOUR TEAM’S OFFENSIVE PERFORMANCE
“We did a mixture. Our whole goal was to get to the 4th quarter and have a chance to win it. Fortunately, for us, the defense played well enough, and we were able to milk enough clock off of it to get us there. But in no way are we really pleased with the way we played offensively. We couldn’t run the football. When you can’t do that, the defense has a big time advantage. We couldn’t find a way to run it. It made it very, very difficult on us tonight. Give credit to them some, and obviously it is hard to feel like you had a good plan when you feel like you don’t have anything to go to that you can find a way to run to where you can control more of the game.”
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN TAKE FROM THIS GAME MOVING FORWARD?
“Sure. You always have an opportunity to learn in wins or losses, probably more in the losses than you do in the wins. So, this will be a great opportunity for us to learn and try to figure out what we can do better next time.”