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Countdown to Kickoff: Flames Scrimmage on New Grass Practice Field
For the first time during this training camp, the Flames offensive and defensive units "officially" squared off on the gridiron with the first of five scheduled scrimmages during training camp.
For the second-straight day, Liberty braved nearly 100-degree temperatures during the two-plus hour practice session, accounting for the eighth practice during the August camp.
The Flames focused mainly on short-yardage type plays, with the coaching staff recently implementing several key third-down type packages.
Coach Danny Rocco commented after practice that Liberty has installed approximately 80 percent of its offensive and defensive packages. However, he was a bit discouraged with the team's effort on the field today.
"To be honest with you, I was a little disappointed today," stated Rocco. "Now, I know we were dealing with 98 or 99 degree temperatures, but I expected more today out of this group.
"I told the guys last night; don't look for the light at the end of the tunnel, because there is no light. You've just got to put your head down, lock your jaw and move forward. We just need to keep plugging away, and unfortunately, we didn't do that today."
The coaching staff had scripted 96 plays for the 70-minute scrimmage, but due to the intense heat, the scrimmage session was cut short after just 70 plays.
A bright spot for the Flames was that the officials only whistled Liberty for three penalties over 70 plays. The first two infractions were because of movement by the offensive line and the final one was on a defensive pass interference play on a deep out route.
Junior quarterback Brock Smith looked sharp on the afternoon as the signal caller completed 19-of-28 pass attempts. Back-up quarterback Spencer Landis was 6-for-11, while freshman Mike Brown completed his only pass, a 12-yard, roll-out play to tight end Corey Rasberry.
Running backs Rashad Jennings and Zach Terrell accumulated a majority of the rushing attempts. Jennings rushed eight times for roughly 53 yards, followed by Terrell's six carries for approximately 24 yards.
Liberty's trio of quarterbacks found senior wide receiver Wynton Jackson as their favorite target on the day. He caught eight passes, including a 25-yard pass play on the far side of the field, which would have gone for a touchdown had the play not been whistled dead.
The Flames return to their two-a-day schedule on Friday with a morning practice at 9 a.m., followed by an afternoon session at 3 p.m. LibertyFlames.com will be covering both practices and will report on Liberty's second of four two-a-day sessions during training camp.
Flames Facts from Practice:
• The Flames hosted a NFL scout from the Minnesota Vikings during the day, who was evaluating several senior members of the team.
• Professional scout sights during training camp could be the norm this year as the Flames have been contacted by numerous NFL teams to schedule evaluation dates.
• Liberty closed the "first half" of its scrimmage today by working out its punt/punt coverage units. Senior Zac Kolegue took all six punt snaps, booting three punts for more than 40 yards.
• The Flames finished off the scrimmage with Kolegue and transfer Noah Greenbaum alternating on field goal attempts, kicking from a range of 25 to 42 yards.
• Liberty's defensive unit recorded two sacks during the scrimmage. Vince Redd snuck behind the line of scrimmage to get to Brock Smith and Ian Childress quickly found Spencer Landis on another play.
• Vince Redd recorded the lone negative-yardage stop of the afternoon as the outside linebacker quickly got to Zach Terrell on a run attempt up the middle.
• The Flames will continue to use their morning session to focus on their run game tomorrow. During the full-pad practice, Liberty will look work on its first and second down situations and play action plays.
• During the afternoon session, Liberty will try and catch up on the plays it was scheduled to focus on today. The Flames will work on third and long, their nickel package and their sub offense, plus some two-minute drills.