Thank you for submitting your questions and continue to send them in and we will be happy to answer them in our next feature. You can send them to us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, e-mail, or as a comment on the site. We had a ton of great questions this week. If we didn’t get to yours this time, look for it next week. Let’s get right to it.
In a “Way to Early” Mock Draft for 2022 what round do you see Malik Willis being drafted in?
— Paul Lundy (@CoachPaul82) May 4, 2021
If you missed it earlier this week, we did a quick round-up of several 2022 mock drafts that have Malik going in the 1st round. In reading all of the breakdowns from those various analysts, as well as in reading Bruce Feldman’s story on The Athletic and having listened to his interview for our podcast, there’s obviously a clear path for Malik being a first round pick. There are some areas he needs to work on, but don’t we all expect him to take a huge step forward in his second year as a starting college quarterback? I think he breaks Liberty’s 32-year drought since Eric Green was taken in the first round.
So we are all really enjoying the Malik era here. Who will be the next guy we lean on once he moves on next year? (And of course hopefully is in the running for the Heisman and gets drafted early).
— Ya’ll Know Me (@RMB881) May 4, 2021
From being the “next guy” to who can be in the “running for the Heisman.” Wow, that’s quite a jump from one to the next. The biggest question mark will be who takes over at quarterback for Malik. Is it somebody on the roster already – Johnathan Bennett and Nate Hampton are the most likely – or does Freeze go back to the transfer market? Without knowing the answer to that question, it’s difficult to predict, but let’s look at a non-QB because there aren’t many Malik Willis’ walking around. How about Demario Douglas? I don’t see him getting into the Heisman discussion and maybe not being drafted very early, but he is a guy with amazing talent at the wide receiver position. A couple of guys of similar size (5’8″, 165) were taken within the first two rounds of the 2021 draft. He has explosive ability and Freeze has been able to produce some NFL caliber wide receivers.
Prediction for the upcoming football season? Record? Top 25 finish? Bowl?
— Brent Rose (@brentrose9) May 4, 2021
I’ve already given my early 2021 season predictions where I pegged the Flames at 10-2 with losses at UAB and at Ole Miss. Another very tough game will be against Louisiana in November at Williams Stadium in what could be a possible top 25 matchup. If Liberty finishes 10-2, that’s a borderline top 25 team, maybe No. 25? And how about a trip to the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Florida? If the Flames can get to 11-1 or even 12-0, a New Year’s Six Bowl is certainly not out of the question.
Who do you see as a break WR this season? Thoughts on the transfer Wr?
— Josh Burdick (@burd_phil) May 4, 2021
Assuming you are asking about a breakout wide receiver…Noah Frith has to step up for the Flames this coming season. Without CJ Yarbrough, Liberty is extremely thin on the outside and Frith is the only guy on the roster with any considerable experience. He had 16 receptions for 211 yards and 2 touchdowns in 6 games played. Look for those numbers to triple, at the minimum.
Austin Ogunmakin is set to join the team after transferring from North Texas. He played in the shadow of Jaelon Darden to begin his career for the Mean Green. Darden was drafted in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With Darden sitting out of North Texas’ bowl game back in December, Ogunmakin had 7 receptions for 131 yards and a touchdown. If he comes anywhere close to that production for the Flames, he will be the breakout wide receiver. I expect it to take him a little while to adjust to his new team and the new system, though.
Is Shedro Lewis still around? Where do you see him used the most?
— elton dickens (@pedmtnfit) April 15, 2021
Yes, Shedro Louis is still around and he’s one of my favorite players on the team! He showcased his ability at the Carrier Dome last October with 170 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. With TJ Green and Joshua Mack in the running back room, Louis will likely have a similar role to what he had in 2020. I would expect Freeze to work in some packages that feature his play-making ability and making sure he has his fair share of opportunities.
Who are some players on mbb you expect to see a serious uptick in playing time and do you think any of the freshman will make an immediate impact. Also thoughts on miciah abii and if you think he will be able to sort it out and get some playing time
— Trev_spi (@SpiTrev) May 4, 2021
We tackled this topic last month by projecting the starting lineup and rotation. That was before the addition of Bryson Spell who could certainly factor into that rotation. Drake Dobbs is the most obvious one that will see a huge uptick in playing time and role. He will go from playing about 13 minutes per game to being the starting point guard and likely playing 30+ minutes per game. Outside of him, there are several who return that will have similar roles as to this past season – Darius McGhee, Kyle Rode, Blake Preston, Keegan McDowell, and Shiloh Robinson.
Joseph Venzant is expected by many to be the most ready to play, and he could even step into a starting spot. Brody Peebles and Bryson Spell will also have their chances to crack the rotation. DJ Moore most likely redshirts, but he could prove to be valuable as a backup point guard role similar to what Dobbs did this past season.
I asked Coach McKay about Abii on a recent podcast. Conditioning and defense are the biggest hurdles standing in his way of serious playing time. He’s also stuck behind Preston and Robinson in the rotation of big men and Spell could be inserted in front of him as well. Can he play alongside one of them and will McKay play two of those bigs at one time? That’s his biggest question mark with regards to playing time.
Why do we dominate Virgina Tech all over the board?
— All BS (bourbon and sports) (@BourbonBs) May 4, 2021
I love the shot against the Hokies. It was a big win for the football team and athletic program back in the fall, and that success has carried over to the spring with baseball and softball also knocking off Virginia Tech. The Flames’ baseball team is supposed to play the Hokies next week while either softball or baseball could end up in the same regional with the team from Blacksburg. It would be nice to get a rematch from the 2019 NCAA Tournament second round in men’s basketball.
Are any coaches or ASOR staff members invested in @dogecoin? The coin has an uncanny resemblance to Liberty Athletics
— Nick Mini ✝ (@Nickisntmini) May 4, 2021
Great analogy, taking it to the moon!