LYNCHBURG, Va. – For nearly the past four years, more than 1,400 days, 43 games to be exact, only one man was under center for the Liberty Flames-- Stephen “Buckshot” Calvert. With the record setting passer now graduated, the Flames turn to Malik Willis to be the starting quarterback in the season opener.
“I appreciate the faith they placed in me and I just want to go out there and do what they tell me to do and the right way, you know,” Willis said.
Coach Freeze said there were 3 capable guys of running the RPO style offense but the Auburn transfer gives the team an opportunity to expand the playbook the most.
“I just feel like Malik may give us a little extra something when plays don’t go quite the way we want with his legs so he’s getting the start Saturday,” Freeze said.
As they prepare to open the season with Western Kentucky, the Flames will face a defense that ranked 4th in passing in Conference USA last season and returns with the conference’s reigning defensive player of the year De’Angelo Malone at defensive end.
“He’s a handful that can create negative plays in a hurry and we definitely don’t need to be behind the chains so I think their whole front six is very physical,” said Freeze.
The Hilltoppers offense is a work in progress with grad transfer Tyrrell Pigrome at quarterback but experience is on the side of Western Kentucky.
“The DBs we just have to make sure we play with good eyes and make sure we don’t let him get too much space where he can get a two way entrance,” said junior defensive back and former Appomattox standout Javon Scruggs.
“Just keep him on a one lane street and then I feel like we’ll just go in there and dominate.”
We’ll see how it all unfolds Saturday when the two kickoff at Noon.