For the first time since the 2019 season, Liberty is set to welcome fans to Williams Stadium with no limited capacity for Fan Appreciation Day on Saturday. Most of the 2020 football season saw the Flames limited to only 1,000 fans permitted inside Williams Stadium due to the COVID pandemic, but the doors are open again for fans to come and see their favorite college football team.
“I hate that our fans didn’t get to experience the magical ride last year,” Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze said. I think we would have had an outstanding home atmosphere. I’m hopeful that we get to experience that this year.”
On Saturday, the Liberty football team will participate in a practice from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. in Williams Stadium giving fans an early look at the 2021 version of the Flames behind star quarterback Malik Willis.
“Saturday is just kind of a teaser for fans that enjoy football to come out and watch practice,” said Freeze. “It won’t be an all out game type atmosphere or anything because I think we know who we are with some of those returners. It will be some live situations and scrimmage type deals. Excited that we can open up Williams Stadium and have some of our fans back in to see us. Hope that continues throughout the year.”
Friday is the seventh practice for the Flames during training camp, and Saturday’s practice will give the team a bit of a break from the day to day monotony of fall camp.
“There will be a little extra energy from the staff and the players Saturday,” Freeze stated. “I’ve already heard, sitting in meetings, you hear the offensive guys say, ‘oh we’re going to save that for Saturday. They can’t fit that right. Let’s not show it to them before so they don’t have time to fix it.’ Then you hear the same thing from the defensive coaches. It will be interesting for me to see. The energy definitely will be higher, no question, than us just going out the previous day in shells and try to create some type of jog-thru pace that is very difficult to do and feel great about. There will be some juices flowing Saturday for sure.”
Liberty is coming off a record-setting 2020 season where the Flames finished with a 10-1 record, ending the year with a dramatic bowl victory over Coastal Carolina. The Flames also had two wins over ACC foes in Syracuse and in-state opponent Virginia Tech. The two wins made Liberty the first non-Power 5 team to post a pair of wins over ACC schools in the same season since Houston in 2015. Liberty finished the 2020 campaign ranked No. 17 in the Associated Press poll and No. 18 in the Amway Coaches Poll, the highest ever ranking for the Flames as an FBS program.
Liberty is scheduled to begin the 2021 season on Saturday, Sept. 4 at Williams Stadium in Lynchburg, Virginia. The Flames have won 11 straight games inside the friendly confines of Williams Stadium on the Mountain.