LYNCHBURG, Va. – Entering year four at the helm of the Liberty Flames, head coach Hugh Freeze says the football program’s standard of success has been set on and off the field. He referred to the program’s now 3-0 record as evidence of that.
Now, in spring ball it’s a matter of instilling core values of great attitude and great effort into a new group of players.
“Our objective hasn’t changed and that’s to put our kids and fans in competitive situations and hopefully we’re up to meeting some of those challenges,” Freeze said after Monday’s practice.
The biggest challenge: replacing the production of soon-to-be NFL 1st Round Draft pick Malik Willis.
He not only moved the offense through the air but also with his legs--leading the team in rushing the past two season.
Freeze likes the quarterback competition in camp thus far which includes a mix of experience and youth.
Johnathan Bennett earned valuable playing time as the Flames’ backup in 2021.
He appeared in 9 games, passing for 4 touchdowns. Former Utah and Baylor signal caller Charlie Brewer is also in the quarterback’s room this spring.
The redshirt senior has passed for over 10,000 yards in his career and most recently made three starts for the Utes in 2021 before deciding to leave the program. During his 4 years at Baylor, Brewer passed for over 3,000 yards each in back-to-back seasons (2017 and 2018).
“It’s always good to have a guy who has experience, who’s played in games like the ones we’ll be asked to play in and he has success in them so I think it’s a positive all the way around,” Freeze said.
Along with those two experienced players are Sean Brown, Zak Burnett (Samford transfer), Nate Hampton and former Tennessee quarterback Kaidon Salter. But regardless of who’s starting under center or any other position, the objective for Spring ball in the Hill City is clear.
“Prepare everyone in our program to create value for themselves when opportunities arise,” said Freeze.
Practices will continue in Lynchburg leading up to the Flames’ annual Spring Game on Saturday, April 9.