It’s November and the Flames are still playing for a bowl
Well, ok, it’s not technically November for another day or so, but Liberty’s next football game is in November. Coach Gill is 16-5 during the month of November during his time at Liberty, and with 2 wins in the next 4 games, the Flames would have an opportunity to go to a bowl game.
“We’re blessed here as a football program to be eligible for a bowl game here in the month of November,” Gill said.
The Flames are not shying away from bowl talk.
“We embrace it, we mention it, but that’s about it,” Gill said of the bowl chances. “We have to focus on the different tasks we have to do individually and as a unit. We’re all aware of where its at and what we need to do. You mention it, you embrace it, and then you move on.”
Defense has to eliminate big plays
In defensive coordinator’s Robert Wimberly’s bye week assessment of his defense, he said the biggest area needed for improvement is to eliminate the big plays. Liberty’s defensive unit is allowing 34.9 points and 487.6 yards per game.
“If you watch film, there is some glimpses of where we can be good,” Wimberly said. “To my disappointment, we’ve just given up so many big plays. When you look at the big plays we’ve given up, and then you look at the amount of plays where we played solid defense, it’s very disappointing. In one way, you would feel like you were struggling if it was just multiple plays of 10+, 15+ yards, but we’re talking about those plays not as much, it’s the 20+, 30+ yard gains. In a way, in talking to a couple of my mentors, you get excited because its not a 4 quarter, just every series, you can expect a score. It’s one of those things where we may play good for 3 series and then 3 or 4 series you’re giving up a touchdown. That’s our issue right now, is we got to eliminate the big plays. Going into these last 5 games, there are some things we’re going to put in place that I’m excited about and I know will help us eliminate those big plays.”
Running backs have been a pleasant surprise
Coming into the season, the biggest question mark on the offensive side of the ball was the running back position. Not only were the Flames having to replace veteran backs Carrington Mosley and Todd Macon, but also breaking in new running backs coach Mike Brown. The running back unit has been a pleasant surprise so far this season despite Kentory Mattews missing the last 4 games.
“Running backs, that was one area we wanted to see some improvement,” Gill said. “Mike Brown, just him coming along, we didn’t know how all that was going to mesh together. I have to give credit to Coach Brown coming in here and doing a fantastic job. 2, 3, 4 guys have played. Pickett has done a fantastic job. Everyone that’s come in here has done what we expected and maybe even beyond what we expected. I think that’s one of the main reasons we are where we’re at, as far as being 4-3 with our record.”
Bye week allowed the Flames to get healthy
After racking up so many injuries in the first half of the season with Liberty playing its first full FBS team, the bye week came at a perfect time. It allowed a number of guys to get healthy and are no longer listed on the injury report including kicker Alex Probert, running back Kentory Matthews, wide receiver J.T. Wood, and tight ends Jerome Jackson and Fidel Ogbeifun.
Wide receiver Damian King continues to be out, while tight end Zac Foutz is questionable and wide receiver B.J. Farrow is probable.