KICKER JOB BACK TO AN OPEN COMPETITION
Liberty had a tight battle at kicker during training camp, with Teagen Lenderink being the somewhat surprise chose to get the nod to begin the season as the team’s kicker. Lenderink has made 4 of his 5 field goals this season with a long of 36. He’s also made 5 of his 6 extra points.
The biggest issue is Lenderink has had three of his kicks blocked. One extra point was blocked but still went in, Bowling Green blocked a field goal and returned it for a touchdown, and then an extra point was blocked last week against New Mexico State. The Flames then turned to Nick Brown on the PATs after that one was blocked.
Brown was Liberty’s kicker last season, finishing the season with 73 points as he made 11 of 19 field goals and 40 of 41 extra point attempts. He made both of his PATs this past Saturday against the Aggies. Could we see Brown back on the field, taking over as the team’s top kicker, on Saturday in Buffalo?
“It’s really probably an open competition,” Chadwell said this week. “Teagen has done a nice job, but we will see what happens through this week and stuff. The biggest thing that we’ve had is we’ve had three kicks blocked. One went in and then two of them was blocked. We probably lead the country in that, that’s a statistic you don’t want to lead the country in. We’ve got to do a better job blocking, we’ve got to do a better job getting the ball up in the air so that doesn’t happen. We will sort of see how it goes there.”
DOES COACH CHADWELL LIKE SWAG?
If you’ve followed the Liberty football team closely through the first two games, it is apparent that this coaching staff encourages the team to have fun. From the joker mask that went viral to the post game locker room celebrations, there has been plenty of smiles and laughter had surrounding this team.
Liberty quarterback Kaidon Salter is another one who has been enjoying himself on the field, especially with his celebrations following his touchdowns. It’s been fun to watch.
“I like swag,” Chadwell said this week when asked if he likes his quarterback having some swag. “It isn’t my personal style, y’all have seen how I dress. I want a guy to be confident. More importantly, I just want him to be himself, but also you want to make sure you always respect the game and respect your opponents. That’s the thing that you want your team to do is always respect the game and always respect your opponents. You can be yourself but I don’t want anyone to try and show up anybody or something of that nature. I don’t want to do those things, but yeah I want him to be who he is, his personality, and I want him to project the confidence he has in himself.”
LIBERTY PLAYING LIBERTY?
One thing that has been a constant from the Liberty coaching staff and players during the first few weeks of the season has been the mindset that the team is competing against themselves and not the opponent on the other side of the field.
This week’s opponent, Buffalo, has started the season at 0-2 and lost to an FCS member in Fordham this past week. Despite that loss, this Buffalo team has some talent and expects to compete in the MAC and return to a bowl game. The Flames can’t take the Bulls lightly.
Chadwell hopes there is no letdown with the team, and continues to emphasize that the team is playing themselves and they must strive to be their best each week regardless of the opponent.
“Each week what we talk about with our guys is we’re not playing Buffalo, we’re playing Liberty,” Chadwell explained. “We are playing our mindset. We are playing what our preparation is. Last week we didn’t have the best week in practice on certain days and it showed up in the game. We point back to that saying, we practiced like that on Tuesday, and Wednesday was like this, and this is why we came out of the gate like this. For us, yes, we know they are really good. We know they can beat us, but our focus more has been on what do we have to do to play our best on Saturday regardless of who we are playing.”
Kendy Charles missed Liberty’s first two games due to an injury he suffered on Monday prior to the Bowling Green game. He is getting closer to getting back on the field after Coach Chadwell called him week to week with a lower body injury following the Bowling Green game.
True freshman defensive end Larry Jones also missed the Bowling Green game due to being in concussion protocol, but he was able to return to the field during Week 2 against the Aggies.
Starting defensive tackle Bryce Dixon was a limited participant during the open period of practice on Tuesday. He will likely be able to play on Saturday against Buffalo provided there are no setbacks, but he is a name to watch.