Freeze and Fuente rematch
Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze and Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente have met twice before on opposing sidelines as head coaches. While at Ole Miss, Freeze’s Rebels defeated Fuente when he was at Memphis, 24-3, on Sept. 27, 2014 in Oxford, Mississippi. The following year in a rematch, Fuente got revenge in a 37-24 win over Freeze and Ole Miss.
“Justin does a great job coaching,” Freeze said. “I’ve always had great respect for him and the way he does things. Offensively I think they are very, very good, they know what they’re doing. That day at Memphis, that quarterback who Denver drafted, Paxton Lynch, I mean he had a day. He didn’t miss a throw the whole day. They had really good receivers, and we didn’t play particularly well. He out coached me that day and his kids out played ours. I’ve got great respect for him. I got to know he and his wife on a Nike trip. Jill and I really kind of liked both of those people. He does a great job with his kids.”
3rd down defense
Liberty has been one of the better third down defenses in the country so far this season, ranking 8th nationally in keeping its opponents from converting first downs. The Flames have been most effective on third and long when the team can unleash its very talented and explosive pass rushers.
it will be our ability to try to take something away and try to get them into more manageable situations winning first and second down and creating 3rd and long situations in which theyre rarely in because they are very efficeitn they are rarely in 3rd down because they are getting first and second first downs when they are in the 3rd down its usually very manageable that s going to be very challenging for us to be able to get them in those situations where theya re more uncomfortable if you have to win first and second down you have to win the right to rush the passerby winning first and second downInjury Report
DE Stephen Sings to miss first half of game
Liberty true freshman defensive end Stephen Sings will miss the first half of Saturday’s game against Virginia Tech after he was disqualified from the Southern Miss game on the final possession due to a roughing the passer and targeting penalty. In recent games, Sings had become a fixture on obvious passing downs, particularly third and long, with his ability to rush the passer.
Sings is one of the highest rated Liberty recruits in school history. The product from the Charlotte, North Carolina area was originally committed to Virginia Tech, but he switched to Liberty late in the process as it appeared he would have difficulty qualifying academically. After he signed with the Flames, and in part due to the ongoing pandemic and the NCAA’s relaxing of academic requirements for incoming freshman, Sings was able to qualify and be an immediate contributor.
In his absence, when Liberty as able to get in third and longs, look for the Flames to utilize fellow true freshman Aakil Washington and also more opportunities for Jayod Sanders.
Freeze has the same gameday routine
Like most players, Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze also has a gameday routine that he says is the same every week. It’s as detailed as the music he listens to and the type of gum he chews.
“I do the same thing every week,” Freeze said of his routine. “I listen to the same music on the way there, will be a longer play list this week. I chew the same gum, I wear the same shoes, I wear the same visor.”
Freeze went on to explain that he chews Big Red gum in the first half and Bazooka gum in the second half. His go to playlist includes Eric Church, Chris Tomlin, and Jason Aldean.
Coming off a bye week, Liberty is as healthy as the team has been all season. wide receivers CJ Yarbrough and Noah Frith are both expected to play, as is running back Joshua Mack, and corner Emanuel Dabney. Wide receiver Jaivian Lofton will not play.
Frith and Yarbrough were both expected to start on the outside at receiver for the Flames this season, but they have yet to both play in the same game this year. Frith has only seen playing time against Florida International before leaving that game in the 4th quarter with a hamstring injury.
“Real excited to have both those guys back,” Freeze said of Frith and Yarbrough. “They’re going to make us better, in whatever games we play in, to have both of them out there. Freshman CJ Daniels came through big for us while we’ve been without two of the more experienced guys, as has Brody Brumm, and we knew we could depend on (Kevin) Shaa and (DJ) Stubbs, Demario (Douglas) in the slot. Having been without, the last few weeks, Jaivain and Noah and CJ has been a challenge, but it certainly has forced those others to get better.”
Safety Tim Kidd-Glass could see his first action of the season on Saturday against Virginia Tech. “He’s practiced this week,” Freeze said of Kidd-Glass. “He will be dressed and prepared to go. We will see how the game is going and see if he can help spell some guys and produce. I think he will end up playing some. He will be ready to go, he’s making the trip.”