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Flames' Passing Game Burns Strong In Rainy Spring Practice

April 11, 2007
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Brock Smith sits in the pocket on a successful, yet rainy Wednesday practice.

Brock Smith sits in the pocket on a successful, yet rainy Wednesday practice.

After enjoying a three day break, the Liberty football team was back at Williams Stadium in cold, windy and rainy conditions as they move one day closer to the Spring Game on April 21. The temperature stood at a crisp 43 degrees as steady rain fell in Lynchburg and the greater Central Virginia area.

The inclement weather did not stop the Flames from enjoying a strong and productive spring practice. "It was important for me that we went today," said head coach Danny Rocco. "It was raining and it was cold and from the gate we challenged the guys before we went out that we had to have a good work out today. With the extended period of time we had off over the Easter break, I didn't want to take today off despite the flexibility of scheduling that comes with spring practice. It was important to get out there today and not have four days off before going into tomorrow night's 7:30 practice, which is one of the more significant practices of the spring season."

Wednesday saw more building toward the offensive and defensive installation of the play book. Most of the day was spent in the redzone. "I always tell our guys to be at their best in the redzone and at the goal line," said Rocco.

Rocco's wish is to open up the throwing game and as the Flames get deeper into the spring that is exactly what they are doing. Today there was two separate seven-on-seven drills. Normally in practice the Flames will only do one of the pass skeleton drills.

Currently the Flames will start doing the drill twice, once early in practice and once late. Today they worked one seven-on-seven drill in first and second down situations early. Towards the latter part of practice they worked in the redzone.

The Flames closed up practice working the two-minute drill. Brock Smith led the offense on an eight play, 65-yard drive that was capped with a touchdown. Smith in some of the heavier rain of the afternoon tossed a 32-yard touchdown pass with pin-point accuracy to wide receiver Jon Crawford for the score.

Spring practice continues tomorrow with the first night practice at 7:30. The Flames will practice ball security and ball disruption for a major part of practice. All the action will take place at William's Stadium.

Danny Rocco Sound Bites From Wednesday

On his team maturing
"This team is really taking ownership of their performance. This is something I have been challenging them with and they are starting to take that ownership. When things start going bad out here they have been able to pull themselves out it. It can't always be me out there yelling and screaming, it's got to be them. We are getting to the point where its starting to be them and they are starting to take more responsibility."

On Brock Smith's solid throwing day in heavy rain
"Under these weather conditions we get a look at what we will see sometime during the season. Brock [Smith] was able to focus and execute despite the weather. He was able to make throws, soften the throws, the guys caught enough balls out there and we had a productive day on offense."

On the standout of the day
"Our offensive line was today's standout. They are a big, physical and deep group. We have six, seven and eight guys that are ready to go in the game for those five positions. Last year at this time I didn't know if we had three guys who could go in and win with. This year we have more guys that can play and win with. They had a good physical day and did a nice job of pass protection in the two minute offense."