As we continue to countdown to kickoff at Virginia Tech on September 3rd, i decided to rank the Most Important Flames. Admittedly, I got this idea from Virginia Tech beat-writer Andy Bitter who’s doing the same thing for the Hokies. This is a list of the players whose success is most crucial for Liberty doing well this season. It’s not a list of the best or most talented Flames, but most important. Keep that in mind as we go through this countdown.
Well, we’ve reached the end of the countdown. We’ve discussed every position on the team and looked at 9 players whose individual performance is paramount to the team’s success in 2016. Today, we look at the most important Flame, quarterback Stephon Masha.
Masha is entering his 4th season with the program, but, outside of 2 critical games late in the 2014 season, he has seen very little playing time. In 2013, he redshirted. In 2014, he played in 10 games, but outside of the games he started against Charleston Southern and Coastal Carolina due to an injured Josh Woodrum, he spent very little time behind center. Last year, he played in just 8 games and only attempted 3 passes.
This season, he will have the ball in his hands on every offensive play. The new offense, which will be a fast-paced, no-huddle concept, was designed largely with Masha’s abilities in mind. Coach Gill has been emphatic this entire month that there is no quarterback controversy; that Masha is his guy and he expects big things out of him.
Quarterback is always an important position, but when a team is replacing a 4-year starter, under a new offensive coordinator, in a new offense, it becomes that much more important. Masha has the ability to make a play when there’s nothing there. That’s something Flames fans haven’t seen since Mike Brown was calling the plays.
If Masha is an all-conference type performer, the Flames will be in the playoffs. If he’s a disappointment, the team will have a disappointing season. The two go hand in hand.