LYNCHBURG, Va. – An expanded stadium, a new season and a new era. The Flames make their FBS debut in 29 days with high expectations as they aim to "respect all and fear none."
"I expect us to compete. I expect our fans to see our guys competing hard every single play," said head coach Turner Gill.
"[We'll be a] hardworking, physical football team, and then we let God take care of the results."
The offseason was exciting, and Liberty hopes to bring it to the field -- returning a core group of players on offense, including quarterback Stephen "Buckshot" Calvert and thousand-yard receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden.
"It's just been a long summer with a lot of hard work and a lot of fun, so we're just ready to see if we can transfer it into the season," said Gandy-Golden.
"It should be really special this year. We've got a lot of guys coming back and a lot of guys that are willing to step up as young guys and play a big role," said Calvert.
Liberty has 20 additional players on the team thanks to more scholarships now at FBS status. It's an area the Flames hope will pay off as they welcome tougher competition.
"We're not really worried about any competition. We respect them, but we won't fear them," said Gandy-Golden.
"We're ready to compete with whoever and whenever, and that's our mindset and that's the mindset that the whole team has to have coming into the season. You know we're fighting and know it will be a dog fight every game, and we're going to be ready," said Calvert.
Head coach Turner Gill added, "There is going to be this transition going on, but I think I can use the word competitiveness. It's my job and my coach's job to make sure we go out and be competitive in every single football game to the best of our ability."
With the FBS status, Liberty is now bowl-eligible and has a bowl tie-in agreement with the Cure Bowl.