TREON SIBLEY HAS BREAKOUT GAME
Liberty wide receiver Treon Sibley has yet to make a huge impact on the field on offense, and, prior to last week, he was relegated to third string on special teams.
Entering the North Alabama game, Sibley was promoted to first string special teams, and against Louisiana-Monroe, Sibley exploded onto the scene with a huge game.
The redshirt-freshman recovered ULM punter Daniel Sparks’ fumble in the end zone in the second quarter for a touchdown, the first of Sibley’s career. In the third quarter, Sibley blocked Sparks’ punt in the end zone, which turned into a touchdown as it was recovered by Chancellor Smith.
Sibley also provided a key block on the edge to free Demario Douglas for a 73 yard punt return as Sibley played a key role in Liberty’s three special teams touchdowns, the first time Liberty scored three special teams touchdowns since Nov. 13, 2004 against Chattanooga.
“Really happy for Treon Sibley,” said Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze. “I thought he had a heck of a day and we challenged him. He’s a kid that wasn’t on special teams the first two weeks because he didn’t embrace it. To see him answer the challenge and have success is really nice to see.”
BARBIR HAS BEST GAME OF EARLY SEASON
Liberty kicker Alex Barbir made both of his field goal attempts, including a 42-yarder in the 2nd quarter. Coming into the game, he was 4 for 7 on field goals this season with a long of 27.
“If you come to practice, you would see why we believe in him,” said Freeze. “The guy in practice, man, he kicks it freely, has a good leg, good pop, and good height. I thought he swung freely today.”
Barbir did miss a late extra point on a play where holder Aidan Alves told Freeze he missed the spot and threw Barbir off.
MACK WITH AN OFF DAY
Liberty running back Joshua Mack finished with just 22 rushing yards on 7 carries, down significantly from the production he had in the season’s first three games where he eclipsed the 100 yard mark each game. Mack was the third running back to get reps against ULM, coming after Peytton Pickett and Shedro Louis.
“That’s something that’s between he and I,” Freeze said of Mack’s limited role. “There’s some expectations and standards around things, nothing to be carried over. He’s good to go, but we’ve got to meet a certain standard for everybody, no one is excluded.”
MALIK ADJUSTING TO LIFE WITH BRACE
Malik Willis played with a brace on his left arm after injuring his left elbow late in the game against Florida International two weeks ago. He was inconsistent in his return to the lineup after missing the North Alabama game, passing 11 for 29 with one interception and 177 yards while rushing for 87 yards on 13 carries and one rushing touchdown.
“I felt really good to go out there,” Willis said after the game. “I was a little rusty, but we got the dub. It’s good that we got the W, but we got a lot to work on.”
Willis said he’s still adjusting to playing with the brace on his arm, despite practicing with it for over a week.
“I practiced all week with it on, but ain’t nothing like live reps,” he said. “I needed that whole environment to see how it feels, take a hit on it and see how it feels. I have a lot of information from this game to build upon.”
SYRACUSE PREP CAN WAIT
Freeze wasn’t ready to move on and discuss Liberty’s game this week against Syracuse immediately following the win over ULM.
“Let’s wait ’til Monday,” Freeze joked when asked about the upcoming game against the ACC opponent. “I don’t know. I’m going to go home and eat Mexican tonight and watch some other games, and then we’ll talk about Syracuse Monday.”
In a follow-up question, Freeze said he was looking forward to having chicken fajitas for dinner.