Liberty hopes to reach playoffs

With a reloaded team, Flames are eager to make a run in the FCS tournament

Let the games begin — The Flames will play two FBS opponents during this football season. Photo credit: Breann Black

With the new school year underway, the Liberty Flames football team also begins a new season and looks to bring home its sixth conference title in the last seven years.

The Flames were picked to finish second in the Big South Conference, according to a preseason poll on

The team hopes to improve upon last year’s 6-5 record, which included six wins in the last seven games, under second-year Head Coach
Turner Gill.

The Flames offense will be led by redshirt sophomore quarterback Josh Woodrum, the reigning Big South Freshman of the Year who garnered recognition for his 1,966 passing yard 2012 season.

“Our team’s really gonna look to me to make plays, be real consistent, manage the game and really strike people when we have the opportunity,” Woodrum said.

Running backs D.J. Abnar, Desmond Rice and University of Virginia transfer Clifton Richardson will propel the ground game while wide receivers Darrin Peterson and Dante Shells will be key pieces of Liberty’s passing game Defensive lineman Cory Freeman and cornerbacks Walt Aikens and Kevin Fogg headline
Liberty’s defense.

Fogg will also contribute to Liberty’s special teams unit. He returns for the 2013 season as a redshirt senior after suffering an injury early in the 2012 season. In the four games he played prior to injury, Fogg recorded 18 tackles and returned 11 kicks for 254 yards.

Liberty’s 2013 schedule features seven home games, including Big South opponents Virginia Military Institute, Presbyterian College and Coastal Carolina.

The Flames hope to use their home-field advantage to avenge last season’s loss to the Chanticleers.

“I feel bad for (Coastal Carolina). It’s definitely gonna be something that they got set up (for) … in this whole situation of being picked first and then coming here, because nobody likes to come in here and play,” Fogg said.

Additionally, the Flames will travel to the University of Richmond to face former Liberty coach Danny Rocco’s Spiders. Although the game may make headlines around Liberty, Gill is focused only on his team’s preparation and
performance in games.

“It’s an important game because it’ll be the next game that we play,”
Gill said.

Overall, Liberty players and coaches have the goals of winning the conference and Football Championship Subdivision championships and believe they have the ability to accomplish those goals.

“I think God definitely assembled this team for this year … to make it into something great and be something very remarkable and memorable for us at Liberty,” Fogg said.

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