Liberty picked up a win on Tuesday night, defeating Western Kentucky, 42-29, to move to 8-0 on the season and 6-0 in CUSA play. 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:
“Excited about the win. They are a good team. We have a great opportunity to see them again. They are a good team. It is a hard place to win. I thought the first half was back and forth. I was really pleased with our offense in the first half, I told them that. I told our defense, we got to start a new streak. We played the type of defense for three quarters, fourth quarter, we didn’t live up to our standard. We still found a way to win which is a positive.”
“Excited about having the opportunity to play for the conference championship, that’s what you shoot for. We need to take care of business. We want to host it.”
WHAT WORKED IN THE RUN GAME?
“It was like a smorgasbord, they were throwing stuff everywhere. We hit some big plays but then we were trying to identify what they were doing defensively. 2nd half, we were trying to put us in some formations we knew we were safe in no matter what. Our guys played hard, they blocked like crazy. Obviously, you’ve got a quarterback who can make something happen in the run game too. We made a decision, we are going to control the ball. We are going to control the line of scrimmage. Did some different formations that our guys could handle and they did.”
CLINCH A SPOT IN THE TITLE GAME, HOW EXCITING IS THAT FOR YOU?
“As a coach, you don’t give yourself a lot of time to think about that because there is something else coming. To be able to secure that is great. I told our team, we want to host it too. We’ve got a great opportunity in our next game to take care of business and be able to host it. They put themselves in a great position. The thing that you want your team to do is always be hungry for something more. Can we play better? It’s not necessarily the win, but can we continue to play our best game? We played really well in a lot of ways but it’s still out there. We’re thankful for it, grateful for it, but that’s not our ultimate goal yet.”
HOW PROUD ARE YOU OF THE TEAM’S ROAD MENTALITY AGAINST A GOOD TEAM?
“I think we have a chance to see them again. What I pleased with was we had a good week of preparation, arguably our best week. I think from an offensive standpoint, you saw us play pretty well. Even in the first half if we don’t get the penalty on one of those long runs, you might score right before halftime.”
“I thought our defense was really, really good for three quarters. It showed up how we prepared. I’m pleased with our effort. I’m pleased with the mentality, the way they are practicing, not looking ahead, not worrying about the things we can’t control, but just coming in and finding a way to get better. That elusive being our best is still out there. We’ve still got something to chase. Hopefully we will never get it, hopefully we will get close, close, close to it.”
WAS IT JUST A COUPLE OF BUSTED PLAYS ON DEFENSE IN THE 4TH QUARTER?
“They are good. They threw a couple of nice passes, they got a PI to get some yardage. The ones you get frustrated on are on the one drive there after we took the lead, I think they had a 3rd and 17 and they had another third down. We let them get that busted. You get frustrated on that. The very next play, we don’t communicate right and they get an easy, cheap play. If they drive the field on you and they are just better than you on that, we can live with that. What we can’t win with is beating ourselves. Liberty cannot beat Liberty. That has been our message from day one, we cannot beat ourselves. I thought we did that a little bit in the 4th quarter defensively. We can’t allow that to happen. They are good, don’t get me wrong. They might have drove down the field anyway, but let’s make them earn it. We were up with 8 minutes to go, 19 points, and we got the ball back with 8 minutes to go only up 13. That can’t happen.”
3 RED ZONE TRIPS AND ONLY 10 POINTS FOR WKU, HOW IMPORTANT WAS THAT FOR THE DEFENSE IN THE FIRST HALF?
“I think that was the key. I think that whole first half. They were driving the ball, right down the field in the first one. We found our footing a little bit. They missed the field goal which was big, got a field goal, but we hold them without touchdowns which was big. Offensively we had a great first drive. Then, we are like is this going to be a scoring fest, we are trying to figure out what they are doing, going for it on a couple of 4th downs to keep the ball. Our AD is probably going why in the world did you go for it on 4th down when you’re backed up? Hey, we are here to win. We were feeling it out a little bit. I think our defense kept us in there a little bit. If they score 21, that’s a big difference. We came out in the 3rd quarter and really pressed them.”
BIG TIME 4TH DOWN FOR SALTER ON THAT LATE DRIVE FOR THE TOUCHDOWN PASS, IS THAT JUST HIM MAKING A BIG PLAY THERE?
“Yeah. When he’s out of the pocket, there’s no telling what’s going to happen. It’s usually something good. He made a tremendous throw. It was tremendous to get out from the pressure. Where the throw was, only our guy could catch it. It was great, great job. He played really well. He can’t get personal fouls. I’m telling him that because he’s standing here listening to me. He’s a role model in college football because of the way he is playing, everybody is looking up to him. He’s been tremendous for us. We are proud to have him.”
WHAT ABOUT THE JOB PRESTON HODGE DID IN COVERAGE?
“That’s been the beauty of him being able to play nickel or play some corner. We’ve had some injuries there. We were down 2 corners who played a lot of football for us. I hope we can get them back after this open date. To have his versatility has been key. To be able to move him in and out. He’s had to cover some really good receivers. He’s done a really nice job.”
HOW DO YOU TREAT THIS UPCOMING OPEN DATE?
“Hopefully if everything goes well, Lord willing, we will get back at a decent time. Tomorrow is their normal off day. We will bring them in Thursday, we will have meetings and all that stuff. Friday will be a light practice. Then, we will give them a couple days off from Saturday and Sunday wise to get their body and their mind ready. Then we will be back at it Monday. We need to give them some time away from a practice standpoint these next 3, 4, 5 days. We will practice some but it will be more fundamental stuff because they need to get their bodies right, their minds right. Sometimes you need to get away from football too. I’m sure the coaches would love for me to let them get away from football some too.”