The Flames completed the 13th practice of training camp on Tuesday morning as the team continues to prepare for the 2017 season. On Saturday, the team had its 2nd scrimmage of August, and Coach Gill said the defense stood out, a stark contrast from scrimmage #1 just a week ago.

Defense stands out in scrimmage

“The defense came to play,” Turner Gill said in reference to Saturday’s scrimmage. “They only gave up 3 touchdowns and some of those were on 2nd and 3rd team guys. What I was most pleased about the defense is 73% on 3rd down they held them from getting a first down. That’s huge. You’d like to be somewhere in that 60-70% range, that’s playing outstanding football.”

Of course, if the defense played well that means the offense didn’t. You may remember last week the offense starred in the first scrimmage of training camp, scoring 6 touchdowns. The Flames also missed 3 field goals on Saturday.

Early camp standouts

Gill always likes to highlight a few players who have been excelling in practice, and, since practice is completely closed to the media and general public, we don’t have much else to go on. The names he mentioned this morning were Juwan Wells, Julio Lozano, Jayod Sanders, David King, DJ Stubbs, and Thomas Sargeant. Once you begin to hear some of the same names on multiple occasions, it definitely catches your attention as is the case now with Lozano, Stubbs, and Sargeant.

Lozano is a redshirt junior who transferred to Liberty from Kilgore College prior to the 2016 season. He started 5 of the final 6 games in 2016 at left tackle, and seems to have solidified himself there during training camp. True freshman wide receiver DJ Stubbs has been mentioned by Gill in some manner in just about every media interview since camp has started. Sargeant is pushing to be the starting center, as Gill said, “Thomas Sargeant is doing a very, very good job at the center spot. We’re very pleased. I’m not going to say it’s totally 100%, but he’s close to solidifying the center position at this point in time.”

Jayod Sanders

This was the first time Jayod Sanders’ name has been mentioned by Gill. He’s a true freshman defensive lineman from Tallahasse, Florida. Gill said Sanders is doing some good things and will probably play.

David King is a redshirt-junior linebacker who has only played on special teams and as a reserve, but he is pushing to be a part of the primary rotation this season. “I think he had his best day here, particularly on the scrimmage side of things,” Gill mentioned of King. “He caused a fumble and did a great effort play. Somebody had a long run, and he went and chased him down and saved him from scoring. David King is somebody that is definitely rising to the occasion at inside linebacker and doing some great things for us.”

Injury update

Even though he didn’t get to participate in the scrimmage on Saturday, Gill says that Solomon McGinty was back in practice on Tuesday. McGinty switched from the Spur safety spot to linebacker during the offseason, but he hasn’t gotten in many reps at linebacker. Gill is hopeful that will change over the next week or two, and that it is crucial that McGinty gets some 11-on-11 live action before the season opener on September 2nd at Baylor.

Offensive lineman Ernst Andersen, who was competing for the starting right tackle spot, continues to be sidelined due to injury. “Ernst Andersen is still questionable,” Gill said. “There are some concerns about his injury. (We’re) getting him to see our doctor here this week and get an evaluation on if he will be able to go this year, or not be able to go, or whatever.” After redshirting in 2015, Andersen missed all of 2016 due to injury.