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Countdown to Kickoff: Flames Don Full Pads for First Time

August 7, 2007
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Defensive coordinator Tom Clark watches as the Flames’ offensive and defensive linemen battle it out on a passing drill.

Defensive coordinator Tom Clark watches as the Flames' offensive and defensive linemen battle it out on a passing drill.

2007 Countdown to Kickoff Central

After two practices without pads and two more in shells, the football program took to the Williams Stadium turf this afternoon in full pads for the first time this season.

Braving another scorching 95-degree afternoon in the Central Virginia area, today's practice was the final session where the coaching staff focused solely on first and second-down situations.

Coach Danny Rocco and his staff have gone back to the basics and fundamentals of the game, working on their base offense, defense and special teams plans over the first five practices.

"The first five practices have gone very well," commented Rocco. "For the most part, we have stayed healthy, and the team has come into camp in good shape. They have very good recall in reference to what we did in the spring, and we are well ahead of where we were at this time last year."

"The biggest thing that has encouraged me early on is the leadership," added Rocco. "This team has got good leadership with a wealth of elder statesmen."

After today, the coaching staff will implement a new game-situation drill each practice (example: third-and-long, third-and-short, two-minute drills and inside the red zone drills).

Tomorrow, LibertyFlames.com will run its second of 10 interviews with a different member of the Flames' coaching staff. During the interview session, we will visit with Flames' tight ends coach Pete Sundheim, who has the privilege of instructing a position at one of its deepest points in recent program history.

Flames Facts from Practice:
• Tomorrow will be the first of four scheduled two-a-day practice sessions during training camp.
• The first practice of the day will be from 9 – 10:55 a.m., followed by an afternoon session from 3 – 4:55 p.m.
• During Wednesday's morning workout session, the Flames are scheduled to review the first five days of practice and implement their short-yardage plans.
• Later in the afternoon, the Flames will focus on third-and-long plays, both offensively and defensively.
• For the second day, the Flames started using a newly completed grass practice field, adjacent to the Williams Football Operation Center. The full team is scheduled to use the field tomorrow afternoon for the third-and-long play drills.
• Vince Redd continues to impress the coaching staff, as the outside linebacker has come back in great shape and is very light on his feet.
• Another group which has impressed the coaching staff is the safeties, including Pat Dickerson, Ryan Greiser and newcomer Ryan Best.
• Reserve quarterbacks Spencer Landis and Mike Brown took a considerable number of reps today, with Landis having "his best day since he has been with the program," stated Rocco.
• Brown also showed considerable athletic abilities during his time under center.

Various construction projects continue around Williams Stadium, including a new ticket booth at the South Gate.

Yesterday, the Flames started using a newly completed grass practice field, adjacent to the Williams Football Operations Center.

One of the final phases inside the Williams Football Operations Center is underway, as decorative wainscoting is being installed around the hallways.

Here is a closer look at the wainscoting around the hallway. Soon, the upper portions of the walls will be decorated with larger-than-life murals from Bumper2Bumper Media, including current and past player photos and various team shots.

Assistant AD for Football Operations looks on as the kickers and long snapper Dan Pope work out on the new grass practice field.

Quarterback Brock Smith prepares to hand the ball off to Zach Terrell as the first-team offensive and defensive units square off in a drill.

Assistant equipment manager Chris Brown sets up for a punt return drill later in practice.

Return specialist Wynton Jackson fields the ball with gunners pursuing in a punt return drill.