QUICK TURNAROUND FOR FLAMES
As we all know, Liberty faces a quick turnaround this week, playing just five days after the game against Sam Houston on Thursday night. This five day rest period is not completely uncommon in college football. It’s the same layover if a team was playing on a Saturday and then the following Thursday.
Liberty head coach Jamey Chadwell has faced a similar turnaround three previous occasions, including the last two years, while he was head coach at Coastal Carolina. All three of those times, Chadwell and the Chanticleers played on five days rest on a Thursday after a Saturday. He and his team went 2-1 in those three games. In 2019, on November 7, Coastal lost at home to Louisiana, 48-7, after five days rest. In 2021, Coastal defeated Arkansas State on October 7, 52-20, on a Thursday night. And last year, on September 22, Coastal beat Georgia State, 41-24, on a Thursday night after a five day break.
“It obviously is a quick turnaround, anytime you play in a shorter week it’s challenging, especially if you go on the road,” said Chadwell. “Your team, instead of having a day off (the day after a game), they’ve got to come in and clean this one and put it to bed. Then, you’ve got to start getting ready for the opposing team. They obviously have a day jump start on you because they played (Wednesday) night. We did some planning and some practice for them during the bye week, so it’s not like it’s going to be brand new. We will have to be smart on how much we do (Friday) and Saturday, because this was a tough, physical game, but we’ve got to get ready to go down there and play a great team and go on the road in this league.”
JSU WITH A SMALL VISITOR’S LOCKER ROOM
Stories have been circulating this week of the small visitor locker room that Jacksonville State has. It started with JSU head coach Rich Rodriguez mentioning that the locker room is tiny and he’s not interested in making it any bigger. He also said that Liberty will be bringing their own showers to Jacksonville State this week.
Chadwell and much of his staff have been to Jacksonville State before and are familiar with their facilities. When Chadwell was the head coach at Charleston Southern in 2015, the Buccaneers visited #1 Jacksonville State for an FCS Quarterfinal game where the Gamecocks won, 58-38.
“I was there in 2015 for a playoff game,” said Chadwell. “So, I’ve been in it. It’s small. It’s tiny. You get different locker rooms at different places. Obviously here our visitor’s locker room is the best around. So, you can’t worry about that. If you worry about those things as a team, you are focused on the wrong stuff.”
The biggest question marks for Liberty on the injury report this week are at running back. We know Vaughn Blue is out as he will miss his third straight game following an injury at Buffalo that will keep him out the majority of the season. Billy Lucas didn’t play this past week against Sam Houston and Quinton Cooley appeared to injure his shoulder late in the first half against the Bearkats, missed the third quarter, before returning to the game in the fourth quarter.
“Quinton Cooley came back in the game, we will see how looks,” said Chadwell. “Hopefully Billy Lucas comes back this week, he was a guy that missed.”
WR Noah Frith didn’t play against Sam Houston on Thursday after he was injured during practice. Coach Chadwell said following the game that he could have played if he was needed, so there’s a chance he could be back on the field Tuesday night at Jacksonville State.
“Noah was banged up and we made the decision,” Chadwell said. “If he needed to go in, we probably could have used him. I don’t know if he would have felt 100% comfortable in where he was out.”
Chris Boti, who filled in as a starter on the defensive line while Charles was out the first three weeks, missed the FIU and Sam Houston games with an illness. He is expected to be out again this week.
“He won’t be back this week, hopefully maybe by the following week, we will see what happens with him,” said Chadwell of Boti.
Liberty defensive back Elijah Hopkins was injured on a special teams play. He has primarily been used on special teams so far this season, and it sounds like he will be out for a few weeks.
“Elijah (Hopkins), it was friendly fire,” Chadwell said. “He will be out. We are hoping maybe by the open week he will come back. It’s a serious injury but it’s not a season ending, which is positive for him. Hopefully he will get back sooner rather than later, but he won’t be playing.”