The Flames began practice this past Monday as they prepare for the 2016 football season. While practices are closed the media, we are afforded the opportunity to speak with coaches and players following Monday and Friday practices. Hopefully you caught our training camp day 1 recap and photo gallery from Monday. We’ll also have updates for you later today, as well as continued coverage all August.


The Flames have opened as a 27.5 point underdog to Virginia Tech. For comparison’s sake, last year’s line against West Virginia was 32.5 while the line against North Carolina in 2014 was 31. Liberty is 6-0 against the spread against FBS schools under Coach Gill. This includes wins over Georgia State and Appalachian State, as well as covers against West Virginia, North Carolina, Kent State, and Wake Forest.


The men’s basketball team is currently in Costa Rica where they will compete in 3 games this week. They had a bit of an issue on Monday traveling there due to the Delta flight cancellation problem, but they did eventually get to Costa Rica late Monday. In their first game, the Flames lost to the University of Ottawa, 71-60. Myo Baxter-Bell led the way with 12 points while John Dawson added 10 points and 7 rebounds and Caleb Homesley had 10 points. The Flames rebounded in game 2 against the Costa Rican national team, winning 60-49. Lovell Cabbil led the way in the win with 11 points while connecting on 3 of his 4 3-pointers. McKay’s squad closed their 3 game trip with a 71-59 win over Brock University. Caleb Homesley led the way with 22 points while Brock Gardner added 11 and Myo Baxter-Bell chipped in 10 points.


Coach McKay announced this week that sophomore center Evan Maxwell and freshman point guard Hansel Atencia will be transferring. Maxwell broke onto the scene this year, but faded as the year progressed. The 6’10” center finished the 2015-16 season 2nd on the team in points averaging 10 points per game. He was also 2nd on the team in rebounds with 4.8 per game and led the team in field goal percentage, shooting 63.7% from the floor. Maxwell had 4 20-point games on the year, including a career-high 24 points at Radford on December 3rd. Atencia played in 19 games and averaged 1.5 points per game. He had a season-high 7 points in Liberty’s season opener against Covenant.


Most of you are probably aware by now that the Big 12 is looking to expand with an announcement coming as soon as this month. One of the more likely candidates is BYU. You may have heard the news this week about certain LGBT groups submitting a letter to the Big 12 Conference requesting the league not consider BYU due to its stance on LGBT issues. It’s interesting this has become public, and it reiterates that perhaps issues like this have been a stumbling block when it comes to Liberty and its FBS hopes. You may want to go back and read our Heat post from a year ago on this exact issue and how it relates to Liberty.