Flames Home > Football Home > News

Rocco Installs Last Spring Practice Plan

April 11, 2008
|  Lynchburg, Va.
|   RSS
|   Share

Brock Smith hands the ball off to Rashad Jennings during a drill on Friday.

Brock Smith hands the ball off to Rashad Jennings during a drill on Friday.

It was a gorgeous afternoon at Williams Stadium, as Liberty took to the FieldTurf for its 10th practice of the spring. With temperatures in the high 70s most of the day in the Lynchburg area, the 50-plus fans in attendance enjoyed the two-hour practice comfortably.

"We got a lot of work done today," said head coach Danny Rocco. "We finished off what we had yet to install this spring. We spent a lot of time in the Red Zone, goal line and two minute offenses."

Practice started with a variety of different drills the Flames have done all spring. The offensive lineman did their blocking drills in the North end zone, while the linebackers and defensive line did their drills in the south end zone. The secondary worked over on the practice field located adjacent to Williams Stadium.

The offense and defense came together for the pop-up drill, a one-on-one tackling drill designed to try and bolster Liberty's stopping ability. On the north side of the field, two sets of lines were formed at the 10 and 20-yard 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.

Rocco then moved the troops into 11-on-11 show work, where the defense simulated the look of different opponents Liberty will face in 2008.

"We utilized our show teams," said Rocco. "So far this spring we have run Liberty offense against Liberty defense. Today, we did some work against the 4-3 and some other coverages that we don't play, but other teams will. It also allowed our defense to go out there and work on some specific things."

Quarterback Brock Smith shined during the show teams. The senior-to-be was a perfect 8-for-8 to start the drill. Smith sent two perfectly placed passes to receivers who had two defenders on them. One was a 25-yard strike to Dominic Bolden, the other an 18-yard connection with Jonathan Crawford. After connecting on his first eight attempts when facing a four-man front, Smith wisely tossed his ninth attempt out of bounds when no one was open on the drill's final play.

Quarterback Spencer Landis shined in the Red Zone drills, hitting Danny Broggin in the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown pass on his very first attempt. Later Landis tossed another strike to Thomas Shaver for an 11-yard score.

The defense would make the last statement of the practice in the two-minute drill. Smith connected on his first four passes, but then was sacked by Nick Hursky setting up a third and 16. Smith dropped a screen to Rashad Jennings to make it a manageable fourth and eight on the defense's 42-yard line. But Kyle O'Donnell batted down a Smith attempt to Crawford, sealing the turnover on downs and ending practice.

"What we do all spring is try and build upon our program and install everything we have," said Rocco. "This way we are ready to play a game at the end of the spring."

Sightings In and Around Williams Stadium

Former Liberty football players Brandon Duke and Chris Stokes attended most of Friday's practice. Also in attendance were Alysson Sanders and Brittany Pacella of Liberty's 2007 Big South Championship volleyball team.

Spotted just outside the Williams Football Operations Center and on his way to the LaHaye Center was incoming men's basketball recruit Seth Curry. Curry was seen with current basketball player Anthony Smith and current Liberty student Johnny Stephene, who will be a member of next year's squad. Curry is one of six recruits that make up Liberty's Top-50 recruiting class by Basketball Times. Curry, Smith and Stephene played a pick-up game in the LaHaye Student Center on Friday afternoon.

Coach's Corner
Periodically during this year's spring practice, LibertyFlames.com will be bringing insight from one of the assistant coaches on staff. During this brief one-on-one session, the assistant will preview his position players and what the 15-day practice session holds for his crew.

Today, LibertyFlames.com sat down and chatted with passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter.

On the quarterback play this spring:
"We have done a very good job of going out there and working on something each day. Each of these kids has something they are working on. They are focused on getting better in each drill. The backup quarterbacks are getting a lot of experience and are really learning and progressing, especially mentally."

On the year-by-year progression of Brock Smith:
"Brock has matured and understands the system even more. He is reacting quicker and is having a great spring. He is making the right decisions and working on his leadership too, which is a big part of playing the possession."

On back up quarterbacks Spencer Landis and Mike Brown:
"Both Spencer Landis and Mike Brown are playing very well They are competing hard against each other, but are helping each other, encouraging each other. I really like seeing that. Mike has been here for only eight months or so, but he is very good mentally with the system and handling himself in the game situations we put him in. Spencer has been here for two years and is progressing very well too. Spring is great because it gives guys like Mike and Spencer experience that we might not be able to give them during the season. They are both doing very well and I am excited for each of them."