On Wednesday, Liberty defensive backs Javon Scruggs and Benjamin Alexander, linebacker Anthony Butler, and defensive tackle Ralfs Rusins took questions from the media. There was a wide range questions and below is ASOR’s report from the player interviews…
THE TEAM IS READY TO GO
Continuing the trend from Tuesday with the offensive players, the defensive players expressed their eagerness to suit up Saturday.
“As a team, we’re ready to go out there and compete at a high level,” Javon Scruggs said. “It’s been a long time since we actually put the pads on and hit somebody else.”
Ben Alexander agreed. “It’s been a long time since we played against somebody. I think you can tell in the locker room we’re pumped and ready to go.”
“I’m really excited to get on the field and play,” Anthony Butler said. “The energy in practice today could tell you everything you need to know.”
JAVON SCRUGGS IS HIGH ON MALIK WILLIS
Javon Scruggs first made a name for himself in Appomattox as the starting quarterback leading the Raiders to multiple state championships. He’s seen more of Malik WIllis than many, as Willis served as the scout team quarterback for Liberty’s defense to prepare for last year. He’s impressed.
“I can say just two words – dual threat. That’s it.”
RALFS RUSINS LEARNED ENGLISH WATCHING CARTOONS
Starting defensive tackle Ralfs Rusins is from Latvia, and he says he first learned English by watch cartoons.
“The first time I started understanding English I was like four years old and I was watching Cartoon Network at home. It was all English. I was watching it and watching it and then I finally understood it.”
His favorite cartoons from Cartoon Network were Samurai Jack, Courage the Cowardly Dog, and Dexter’s Lab.
RUSINS TO RETURN IN 2021?
The NCAA is allowing all college football players to retain their season of eligibility regardless of how much they play this fall. Rusins, a senior, hints that he could return next season.
“This might not be my last season here,” he said. “It all depends on how my last season goes.”
BEN ALEXANDER SWITCHING NUMBERS
Safety Ben Alexander is switching from number 43 to 17 for his senior season.
“That was my high school number,” he said of 17. “When I first got here, they gave me 43, so I was like, ‘Ok, I’ll take it, I’m the new guy.’ I tried to get 17 the past couple of years, but finally 17 freed up.”
FLAMES PREPARING FOR WKU QB
Liberty’s defensive preparation is focusing on the dual threat ability of new Western Kentucky starting quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome.
“We’ve got to make sure we don’t let him get too much space,” Scruggs said. “We need to keep him on a one way street.”
Anthony Butler continued that line of thinking. “The biggest challenge they pose is in the plus one run game with Pigrome being able to run the ball. You can use the running back as an extra blocker. They get the ball out quick. They will try to challenge us on the perimeter.”
LIBERTY’S CULTURE ATTRACTED BUTLER
Butler transferred to Liberty from Charlotte following the 2019 season, and he said the team’s culture made a huge impact on him while he was on a visit.
“I think it was the Maine game, seeing the guys win the game, but the atmosphere in the locker room, you could clearly tell they weren’t happy about the fact they won because they didn’t put their best foot forward. I knew then that I wanted to come here because that was a team that was eventually going to dominate because they had set a standard for themselves and they were not going to waiver from that.”
PLAYMAKERS ABOUND AT SAFETY
Liberty welcomes several new transfers to the safety room in Tim Kidd-Glass, Cedric Stone, Marcus Haskins, and Juawan Treadwell. Scruggs and Alexander spoke very highly of this group.
Scruggs – “Playmakers, all those guys. They’re all playmakers. As we get those guys to think less and play more, we’re going to be great on defense.”
Alexander – “It’s created a lot of competition. We have a lot of playmakers.”
BUTLER MOTIVATED BY RINGS
Anthony Butler is jealous of his teammates Cure Bowl Championship rings and he wants to earn one for himself this season.
“It’s a lot of motivation to see these guys walking around with these big old rings,” he said.