Liberty picked up a win on Saturday, defeating UMass, 49-25, to move to 11-0 on the season. Following the win, head coach Jamey Chadwell met with the media. Here is everything he had to say following the game, beginning with his opening statement:
“Pleased with the outcome. I thought we started off the game really well, offensively and defensively, created turnovers. Disappointed a little bit in the second half there from an offensive standpoint. Turned it over toward the end of the end of the first half and then there in the second half.”
“Did a lot of things well. We are thankful to be 1-0 this week and 11-0. The question every week is about schedule this and schedule that but we just keep showing up and playing hard and playing for each other. Another big win for us as we continue to move forward.”
“Pleased in a lot of areas. There are some things we need to do better. We had some things that we left out there that we have to be way better on. From an effort standpoint, from a mindset standpoint from our guys being prepared and not overlooking. Each week, as a coach, you are pleased for that. We are glad to be 11-0 with the win. Looking forward to next week.”
IT’S EASY TO GET CAUGHT UP IN OFF THE FIELD DISTRACTIONS, IT DIDN’T SEEM LIKE THAT DISTRACTED YOUR TEAM AT ALL THIS WEEK.
“Let me say, the students that chose to stay, we appreciate that. I know that wasn’t an easy thing to do. For them to do that, it was awesome. Our team appreciates it very much.”
“We talk a lot about you can’t base how you play, how you perform based off circumstances. It’s got to be about who we are. What’s our standard. No matter if you are playing in front of 25,000 or maybe like we have sometimes 8, you show up and you compete because that’s what your job is and you do it for the guy beside you. Not for the outward things. Our guys handled that. We prepared well this week. We had good practices and great mindset, and it showed up. That’s two weeks in a row we have started well. As a coach, we’ve got to figure out how to finish with that same intensity through all four quarters. It was good to see us come out like that and not take for granted the opportunity you have.”
HOW DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU WERE TODAY AS FAR AS BEING BALANCED OFFENSIVELY?
“I thought we were solid. I felt like we left some out there from a pass standpoint. We had some drops that hurt us and we didn’t throw for a great completion percentage, it could have been better. Remember, balance is just about what are they giving you and can you take it from them. You would love to be right down the middle, but you do what you can to win the game. I thought we were able to run it well. When we had some play action shots and different things there we had some opportunity. We’ve got to lock in a little bit better from the standpoint if we’re going to be more consistent there. As we play better teams and go deeper into this season here with the three games left, we’re going to need to make sure that we’re clicking on all cylinders.”
ONLY 3 PENALTIES FOR 15 YARDS, HOW GOOD WAS IT TO GET THAT ADDRESSED?
“We had the one on special teams, that’s on me, the offsides on special teams, that’s on me. What were the other two? I can’t remember, but way better. You want to play a clean game. You don’t want to beat yourselves. I think we have been better at that. Part of that, sometimes you get penalties because you are trying to be so perfect, you want to do so well and then you don’t play within the rules. Obviously, it is something that we talk about, we practice, and it’s good to see us getting better in that situation.”
HOW BIG IS IT TO HAVE A GUY LIKE AUSTIN HENDERSON STEP UP IN THE LOSS OF HANSHAW?
“We feel like we’ve got a really good tight end room. You’ve got a 1A and a 1B there between Austin and Bentley. Austin is obviously more than capable of playing at a high level. Today he got those opportunities and made some really nice plays. The thing that I’m more pleased with him is he blocks, he does what we ask him to do, and he doesn’t complain. He shows up, he does his job. If we ask him to block 50 times, then he’s going to block 50 times. It was good to see him get rewarded for that mindset. I think that shows the depth that we have there between those two guys that they can make some good plays. It was good to see.”
HOW DO YOU GUYS STRIKE THE BALANCE AS THE STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE HAS BECOME A BIGGER TOPIC?
“That’s the outside noise. As you get closer here to the end of the season and you’ve got four or five teams jockeying for Top 25 or whatever it may be. Everybody is going to nitpick who you play, strength of schedule, and all those things. What we tell our team is that we can’t control who’s out there, but we can control how we play, how we compete, and how we show up every week. This late in the year, everybody is watching. Everybody is looking for you to give them a reason not to put you in whatever. We don’t talk a lot about that, but I let our guys know that you are trying to earn respect every week because you don’t have it. No matter what you have done so far, we don’t have it to the level that this team probably deserves, but that’s ok. We aren’t playing for that, but I think our guys are hungry to know that we are proving ourselves every week. I think that is the balance we try to keep.”
HOW DID YOU THINK BILLY LUCAS LOOKED BACK OUT THERE AND HOW DOES HE HELP YOU?
“It was good to have him back. He’s not been healthy since probably Jacksonville State, really. I think that’s when he got banged up. Last week, we gave him a week off to where he can be healthy for the stretch run. Cooley is banged up. Billy is a good player. Between both of those guys, if we can lessen their reps, and what I mean by that is Cooley don’t have to rush 20 something times, Lucas takes 10-12 and Cooley gets that, they are fresher, they can run through tackles. It was great to see him back out there confident. He did well.”
BRYLAN GREEN WENT DOWN THERE ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT HIM LONG TERM?
“Anytime it is a lower leg injury, it’s not a knee or anything, but any time it is a lower leg injury, that means it is typically like a soft tissue, it is groin or a hamstring or something of that nature. They linger. He is obviously a very good player for us and he is also our punt returner. If he misses any time it is worrisome. As a head coach, on special teams he is your safety net. He is going to make good decisions, he is going to catch the ball. He is a good player in the middle of the field as well. Hopefully it is nothing that is major, and it is something that we can rehab and recover and he can get back healthy soon. We won’t rush him back by any means. In soft tissue, you just never know. I’m hoping he can play this coming week.”
WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE FILM AND SEE THE DEFENSE SWARM TACKLING, HAVE YOU NOTICED THAT IMPROVING?
“I think the third quarter and part of the fourth quarter of LA Tech, I think that bruised our ego a little bit from that stand point. We’ve got a lot of pride in our red smoke defense on that side of the ball. I think since that time frame they have challenged each other to play better, to play with more urgency and more importantly to practice with more urgency. I think that is showing up. I’m sure we missed some. There is some that we messed up and didn’t execute right, but the effort, the intensity. To get the two turnovers there back to back right out of halftime. They did a fantastic job. I think since that time frame, I don’t know if it’s a refocus, but maybe it’s a re-dedication to what makes us good on that side of the ball. For the most part I thought we played a pretty clean game there from that stand point. I’m sure our defensive coaches and even our players look back and say they could have done this better. That’s what you want, you want a growth mindset as far as I can be better. That’s what makes your team good.”