Liberty’s defensive line


Kevin Fogg hopes to break free in the return game against ODU

I hate to beat a dead horse this week, but some games there are certain areas that seem to jump out as being critical to a team’s success. I see Liberty’s defensive line being that way this week. If the Flames are able to use their front 4 to hurry Heinicke’s decisions, they have a shot. This could force him into quick throws and hopefully interceptions. One thing the Flames front line has to be cognizant of when pressuring him, is don’t let him escape their pressure and run for big gains.

If Liberty’s defensive line is unable to create any pressure on their own, Liberty faces two options. 1 – let Heinicke sit in the pocket and pick apart the Flames’ secondary. 2 – bring pressure from elsewhere. Neither one is advantageous since Heinicke is so good.

The Flames’ front line has a tall order this week and will have to do it short handed. Francis Bah and Dominique Davis are both out.

Ball control

Winning the time of possession battle will probably not be enough. ODU has been on the short end of this battle in 4 of their 5 games this season. In the one head-scratcher game, against the Citadel, Old Dominion was dominated in time of possession (35:03 – 24:57). I don’t think this is a coincidence, and the Citadel’s triple option was the perfect remedy to the Monarch’s fast paced offense.

The Flames need to be able to move the ball, and the chains, on the ground consistently to keep Heinicke and company on the sidelines where he can do no harm. If Liberty is unable to move the ball consistently on the ground, it could be a long night.

Keep score in the 30s


Des Rice and the Flames need to establish a running game early

No offense to Liberty’s offense, but they cannot match ODU score for score. The Flames must keep the game in the 30s if they hope to win. All 4 of the Monarchs’ losses the last 2 seasons have come when they’ve scored less than 40 points. During that time frame, ODU is 11-0 when scoring 40 points or more.

Since ODU restarted their program in 2009, the Monarchs are 22-1 when scoring 40 points or more.

Don’t get behind

You never want to play from behind, but the last thing you want to do is have to play catch up when you’re facing a team that scores just about every possession. If Liberty gets down by as much as 2 touchdowns, it could snowball.

In a perfect world, the Flames score fast and play most of the game with a lead.

Eye on the record books

We will definitely have our eye on the record books during the game. Some notable opponent records which could fall:

  • Most total individual offensive yards (405)
  • Most passes attempted (57)
  • Most passes completed (37)
  • Most passing yardage (496)
  • Most touchdown passes (5)
  • Most team yards of total offense (680)
  • Most points (68)

Do you think any of these get broken by Old Dominion? Which ones?

Full Old Dominion week coverage:

Game preview & prediction

ODU player spotlight: Taylor Heinicke

Liberty player spotlight: Cory Freeman

From the opposition’s viewpoint: Old Dominion

Big South Football Power Rankings: Week 5