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Liberty Under the Lights Again on Tuesday

April 1, 2008
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Brock Smith (13) watches on as Spencer Landis (15) works on a drill during Tuesday evening practice at Williams Stadium.

Brock Smith (13) watches on as Spencer Landis (15) works on a drill during Tuesday evening practice at Williams Stadium.

Following an afternoon practice on Friday and an early morning wake-up call on Saturday, Liberty flipped the light switch again for an evening practice on Tuesday at Williams Stadium. The session opened Liberty's second week of spring football and marked the program's fourth of 15 practice this spring.

The coaching staff continued to challenge the squad and head coach Danny Rocco was a bit concerned with the volume of information he might be asking some developing players to understand.

"I really thought tonight was one of those nights we were not as crisp as I want us to be. We certainly were not as sharp this evening as we have been during the first three practices," reflected Rocco. "I think the biggest reason for the letdown is the amount of information we are asking these kids to take at this time.

"We've got a lot of young players at key positions and we are asking them to learn a lot in a short amount of time. I'm going to take a step back tonight, review the video tomorrow and our staff will make some decisions for the future.

"As in any team sport, if everyone isn't executing at their best, than you have a bad product. We've got to help a few of our younger kids right now who are trying to develop."

Offensively, Rocco continued to install several offensive and defensive schemes. His offense worked on more screen plays and deep plays down field, plus an option package. The defensive players were focused in on the squad's secondary fronts.

For the second practice in a row, the Flames ran one-on-one tackling drills to try and bolster Liberty's stopping ability. During the first, two sets of lines were formed at the north side 10 and 20 yards lines. A defender was placed on his back on the 10-yard line and an offensive player was placed on his back on the 20-yard line.

Once the whistle was blown, both athletes quickly rose to their feet with the ball carrier trying to get to the end zone. Liberty's offensive players dominated the drill, quickly scurrying by almost every blue-jerseyed defender.

Later during the practice session, Liberty ran the same one-on-one drill were an offensive player blocked a defender for a charging ball carrier. In similar fashion to Saturday, Liberty ran the drill in five different stations before Rocco brought the entire squad to midfield for the ultimate one-on-one drill.

During this session, Liberty's backs quickly moved side-to-side to evade the would-be tackler, winning 10 out of the 12 runs. The pair of defenders to halt the running backs were Kevin Richard and Chris Rocco, who ended the drill with a defensive stop.

Rocco continued to praise his quarterbacks, saying the hurlers looked "solid." For the second-straight practice a Liberty quarterback was perfect on finding receivers and tonight it was Spencer Landis. The junior completed 10-of-10 pass attempts during three different drills sets.

Senior Brock Smith finished the 11-on-11 drills by completing 8-of-11 passes. Redshirt freshman Mike Brown was called on to run the ball quite a bit more this evening and was 2-of-3 on limiting passing plays.

Liberty will take tomorrow off from the practice field for video and strength training before returning to Williams Stadium Thursday evening for a 7 p.m. practice. The two-hour session will be the Flames' third night session in five spring practices.

Flames Facts:
During each practice, a different member of the senior class is called upon to lead the conclusion of the team's stretching and warm-up drills. This evening, when the whistle blew, Rocco called upon Patrick Calvary and the defensive back led his fellow teammates in the final round of jumping jacks before the offense and defense took to opposite ends of the field for position drills.

Among the many onlookers at tonight's practice was former Liberty linebacker Vince Redd, who helped Liberty capture its first Big South title this past season. Redd is one of several former Flames who are eagerly awaiting April 26 and 27, the date of this year's NFL Draft, as numerous Liberty names continue to surface for possible selection.

The Flames continued to hold several different special teams segments during the two-hour practice. Tonight, Liberty ran drills mostly sounding kickoff and punt returns.

A few new names started to surface during Liberty's 11-on-11 drills, as the likes of Shay Nicholson (RB), Julinan LiDrazzah (RB) and Mark Malvaso (FB) were each handed the ball at times.

Liberty's quarterbacks started to look for tight ends more this evening with redshirt senior Corey Rasberry and redshirt junior Will Quarles getting the call on numerous plays.