The Flames will honor 17 seniors with a pregame ceremony on Saturday. This year’s senior day honorees are Brandon Bishop, Zak Burnett, Malik Caper, D’Wayne Crawford, Nick Days, Tyren Dupree, Billy Durocher, Noah Frith, X’Zauvea Gadlin, Jonathan Graham, Bentley Hanshaw, Chike Nwankwo, Eddie Ogle, Cole Peterlin, Brendan Schlittler, Elijah Smoot, and Rick Weaver.
“They all had a choice to stay or they could have left,” said Liberty head coach Jamey Chadwell about this group of seniors. “They chose to stay and buy in to what we’re building here in our program. Asked them to stay with us and have an opportunity to make history being the first team in a conference and having an opportunity to play for a conference championship. They made a choice to do that. They made a choice to be leaders and they are being rewarded for that, which is awesome. No matter what happens going forward, they will always be remembered as the team that laid the foundation of what we will hopefully accomplish during our time here in Conference USA. They are all tremendous. I appreciate everyone of them.”
BEST TEAM IN SCHOOL HISTORY?
With the team’s 10-0 start to the season, talk can begin around where this team ranks among the best in school history. This year’s team is one of only three to win 10 games in a season with the others coming in 2020 and 2008.
In 2008, at the FCS level and under head coach Danny Rocco, the Flames finished with a 10-2 record behind star running back Rashad Jennings. The Flames’ lost to Lafayette and Presbyterian but had wins over #12 Elon and Coastal Carolina. That team was left out of the FCS Playoffs, primarily due to that loss against the Blue Hose.
In 2020, the Flames finished 10-1 overall during the COVID shortened season under head coach Hugh Freeze and behind star quarterback Malik WIllis. That season featured wins over Syracuse, Virginia Tech, and an undefeated Coastal Carolina in the Cure Bowl. The only loss came by one point, 15-14, at NC State.
This year’s team has a chance to not only set the school record for most wins, but to challenge that 2020 team for the best in school history depending on how the season finishes.
Running back Billy Lucas was injured in the game against Louisiana Tech and did not return to the game and missed last week’s game against Old Dominion. He has a good chance of returning this week against UMass
Wide receiver Treon Sibley was also injured against Louisiana Tech and did not play against Old Dominion. He was also not at practice on Tuesday. He is not expected to play this week.
Tight end Bentley Hanshaw suffered an upper body injury against Old Dominion last week. Following the game Saturday, Coach Chadwell said he was likely out the next few weeks and would hopefully be ready for the conference championship game. Hanshaw was not in pads for Tuesday’s practice.
Defensive tackle Kendy Charles is likely to miss the rest of the season after the injury suffered against Old Dominion last week.
Offensive lineman Brendan Schlittler suffered an injury during preseason training camp and has missed the entire season to this point. He is working his way back to recovery and has begun to do some individual work on the side during practice. We are still probably at least a couple weeks away before he is ready to get back on the field.