Liberty head football coach Hugh Freeze has been unable to participate in Liberty’s training camp practices since Sunday due to severe back spasms, the school has announced.
Coach Freeze is receiving treatment and will return to practice when they subside. The Flames have continued to practice throughout the week, including practices on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. According to members of the staff, they started noticing issues with his back Saturday evening.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Coach Freeze as he recovers from back spasms,” Liberty Athletic Director Ian McCaw said. “There’s no one who doesn’t want to be out of practice more than he does. He’s eager to get back, and we certainly hope it will be as soon as possible. We look forward to him making a speedy recovery. In the meantime, I want to compliment him on the quality of coaches he has hired. He has hired an outstanding group of coaches that are doing a great job in his absence and really making sure the program continues to make progress through fall camp. That’s certainly a credit to him and also a credit to the quality of the coaching staff. I’ve been very impressed by both the character and the quality of the coaches we have here at Liberty.”
There is no Associate Head Coach or acting head coach while Freeze is away from the team. Defensive Coordinator Scott Symons and Co-Offensive Coordinators Kent Austin and Maurice Harris have, by all accounts, seamlessly stepped into the role left void with Freeze’s absence.
According to some of his staff that has been around him for a lengthy period of time, Freeze has no history of back spasms or back issues.
“I’ve known Coach Freeze since 2008,” Liberty tight ends coach Ben Aigamaua said. “It’s the first time he’s been out of practice for a couple of days. I know it’s pretty serious. I know he is in his bed right now just itching to get out here.”
Freeze has stayed in continual contact with his coaching staff and even sent a video message to the team on Tuesday.
“When you don’t have the leader of the program out there, it’s always a different feel to it,” Aigamaua said. “I think Coach Harris, Coach Austin, and Coach Symons have done a great job at keeping the team together, keeping the energy high. Obviously, Coach is a very fiery guy out there with the energy. Obviously, he is missed.”
McCaw says there is currently no timetable for Freeze’s return.
“Nothing’s changed,” senior running back Frankie Hickson said. “We can’t let off a day because of him not being here. That’s how he would want it. That’s what he expects from us, and that’s honestly a sign of our maturity here as well. Since he’s been here he’s tried to let us grow up a little bit more, take the next step, and go to the next level. Part of that is not reverting back to our old selves, but maintaining what we have here.”