The Liberty football team is wrapping up its training camp portion of practice and beginning to focus its attention on the season opener at Virginia Tech on September 3rd. We spoke to a few players and coaches, including head coach Turner Gill, after practice today. Here are a few notes and quotes from that session.

McGinty named captain, Juwan Wells and Jeremy Peters are no longer captains.

Following the conclusion of spring practice, Coach Gill announced 5 team captains – Stephon Masha, Tanner Hartman, Dexter Robbins, Juwan Wells, and Jeremy Peters. Today, he announced JUCO transfer Solomon McGinty has joined Masha, Hartman, and Robbins as the 4th captain on the team. When asked about Wells and Peters, Gill said, “just some things came up that we saw that maybe they were not quite ready (to be captain).”

McGinty joined the team in January after transferring from Tyler Junior College in Texas. On McGinty being named captain, Gill said, “he’s just been a great example of demonstrating how to be responsible both on and off the football field.” Defensive coordinator and safeties coach Robert Wimberly said, “he took care of business.” Coach Wimberly continued, “he came in and tried to earn the respect of the guys by the way he practiced, by the way he carried himself in the weight room, by the way he’s doing what we’ve asked him to do since he’s been here.”



Calvert named Masha’s backup, Yearick to redshirt.

Coach Gill stated that Buckshot Calvert has been named Stephon Masha’s backup at quarterback. “Steve Calvert will be available and ready to go and play,” Gill said. Calvert was a 3-star recruit out of Miami Carol City Senior High School in south Florida. As a senior, he threw for 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Rud Yearick, who is another true freshman quarterback, will redshirt this season. Yearick is from Metrolina Christian Academy in Matthews, North Carolina.

We’ll have much more on the quarterback position, including quotes from offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Joe Dailey, in our training camp update on the quarterback position on Friday.

Several true freshmen will play this season.

Several true freshmen will play this season including Antonio Gandy-Golden, DeCarlo Hamilton, Jimmy Faulks, Jr., Brandon Tillmon, and Alex Probert. Other guys who could play this season, but the coaching staff is still evaluating, include Damian Bounds, Ethan Crawford, and Michael Anderson.

Gandy-Golden is a 6’4″ wide receiver from Dallas, Georgia. Gill has mentioned him on several occasions during camp. Hamilton is a 6’3″, 335 pound nose guard from Plantation, Florida. Jimmy Faulks, Jr. is expected to be part of a 5 man rotation at cornerback. Brandon Tillmon, the 2-sport athlete who will play both football and baseball at Liberty, is part of the mix at safety. Of course, we’ve mentioned kicker Alex Probert many times during camp.

Damian King

Damian King

Damian Bounds and Ethan Crawford are offensive linemen who could end up playing. Gill says they’re both part of the 2-deep right now. Anderson is a defensive end from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Kick and punt returners identified.

Damian King and Frankie Hickson will start the season as the top kickoff returners. King will also be the main punt returner. Zac Parker, who was the top punt returner last season, will also get some reps in the punt return game, while B.J. Farrow is being considered as a punt returner as well.

Gill has mentioned King several times during the offseason as a guy who will make a name for himself this season. Hickson, the 3rd string running back, is a local kid who attended Heritage High School.

Virginia Tech preparation has begun.

The Flames began preparing specifically for the Virginia Tech game on Wednesday. Gill says they’ve been getting the guys used to some of the schemes that the Hokies will run. It’s been difficult for the defense to prepare for what they will see against Tech since the Hokies have a new head coach, offensive coordinator, and quarterback. Defensive coordinator Robert Wimberly says it’s difficult for his defense to prepare because they don’t have anything they can show them on film, and this has led to more questions than usual from the team entering the first game.