Liberty will open its 2024 spring practice period on Friday, Feb. 9 in the first of 15 practices over the next month that will conclude with the annual Spring Game on Saturday, March 2.

The Flames will practice in just helmets on Friday and Saturday followed by three straight weeks of practices on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday leading into the Spring Game. This is an earlier spring practice period than Liberty typically utilizes, but head coach Jamey Chadwell sees several positives for practicing earlier in the spring.

The NCAA allows up to two hours of video and on the field work with the team. The Flames will go through the 15 practices, then have time to study film and focus on what needs to be improved on following the spring practice period.

“We’ve got 14 opportunities to go back out, not in pads or anything, but within the time frame of NCAA rules and really work on things (we need to),” Chadwell said. “I believe you develop better when you know what you need to work at instead of just doing it and you figure it out late April.”

The earlier spring practice also allows the team to get back together after Liberty’s spring break and have a longer, uninterrupted, time of training.

“We have from March all the way until August before we get back to fall camp,” Chadwell explained. “From a training cycle, for our players to really bulk up and develop without a break in there from a practice that breaks it up.”

Finishing spring ball in early March would also allow any more serious injuries that occur additional time for the players to heal to hopefully be ready for the fall season or before the season is over.

Entering his second year with the program, Coach Chadwell is much more comfortable in his environment and with his team as he prepares for his second round of spring practice with the Flames.

“I know everybody, which is a positive,” he said jokingly. “You’re more comfortable. They are more comfortable in who we are and what we’re doing. You feel way better. Obviously, there are a lot of new guys, but you know the majority of it. They know what your culture is and what your expectations are. You still have to every day water your culture, but we have a great understanding of work and how we need to produce that work.”

Following an undefeated regular season that led to the program’s first ever New Year’s Six bowl game appearance, Liberty will look to defend its Conference USA title in 2024. During its first season as a member of CUSA, Liberty posted an unblemished 8-0 league record and a 13-0 overall mark that earned the Flames a spot int eh Vrbo Fiesta Bowl against No. 8 Oregon.

“Now, to me, it’s continuing to develop and raise the mindset,” Chadwell said of coming off last year’s success. “I think it’s natural when you have a great year for the guys that played a lot and returned to think, ‘I have arrived.’ Then, you have young guys that are hungry, which is great. We have to make sure we are all still hungry and pursuing something special and not relaxed.”

Liberty will open the season on Saturday, August 31st against Campbell at Williams Stadium in Lynchburg, Virginia. The Flames will open CUSA play, in defense of their 2023 title, the following week, Saturday, September 7th at New Mexico State in a rematch of the 2023 CUSA Championship Game.

“We can be way better next year,” said Chadwell. “That doesn’t mean we will be as good as our record was, but I do think we’ve brought in some good players and we have a lot of young guys who are excited. I think we have a chance to maybe be better. We will see how that goes.”