Heralded freshman kicker John Lunsford went down in the Gardner Webb game and has been stated as being out 4-6 weeks. This would have him out until at least the Stony Brook game. Hopefully the only game that Liberty will be in a close game during this time is the Coastal game. So, how did Lunsford’s replacement Aaron Sassaman (whom Coach Turner Gill calls the “Smooth Operator”) grade out?
Sassaman had 8 extra point attempts due to Liberty’s offense being nearly unstoppable and racking up 8 touchdowns. He was a perfect 8/8 on his PATs, and each of them was kicked well. Yes, it’s just an extra point, but for a kid with his first collegiate experience and less than a week to prepare, job well done.
While Sassaman got plenty of opportunities on extra points, he did not get an opportunity to attempt a field goal. This may be a good thing as he has another week to prepare both mentally and physically, and his confidence should be high.
Perhaps Lunsford’s biggest strength he had displayed through his first 5 collegiate games was the strength of his leg on kickoffs. On 24 kickoffs Lunsford registered 14 touchbacks. In Sassaman’s 9 attempts he has 0 touchbacks. Most of his kickoffs against Presbyterian were pooch kicks which landed between the 20-30. This may be Special Teams Coordinator Mike Minter’s strategy going forward to keep teams from having a great kick return.