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Game Between Nation's Best Tops Rocco's Talk
Liberty Head Football Coach Danny Rocco held his weekly media press conference in the Donor Room of the Williams Football Operations Center earlier this afternoon.
During the 30-minute press conference, Rocco touched on numerous subjects, including Liberty's Big South victory over Gardner-Webb at home, the Flames' consecutive unbeaten seasons in conference action and the importance of Liberty's upcoming match-up with No. 12 Elon on Saturday. Rocco also:
• Began by praising his team for its solid victory over Gardner-Webb last Saturday, including excelling in all three phases of the game (offense, defense and special teams).
• Talked about how pleased he was that the team was finally able to celebrate its championship, despite wrapping up the conference title the previous week at VMI.
• Spoke about his defense coming out with a strong effort against Gardner-Webb, keeping quarterback Devin Campbell on the move most of the game.
• Remarked about the reliable play Liberty is getting offensively from quarterback Brock Smith, running back Raahad Jennings and wide receivers Jonathan Crawford and Dominic Bolden.
• Commented on the increasing consistency the Flames are starting to get in their kicking game, with the strong play of Ben Shipps, Matt Bevins and Mike Larsson
• Talked about how critical this game is for both teams and what a win could do for either program.
• Spoke about the similarities between the two programs, including the change in coaching staffs before the 2006 season and how they both have followed similar paths to get to this point.
• Was asked to remark about the postseason playoff ramifications for either team and what a win would do for Elon or Liberty, in terms of last-minute impression, before handing the decision over to the NCAA FCS Playoff committee.
• Reviewed Elon's successes this year, including its wins over No. 14 Georgia Southern and No. 21 The Citadel, while commenting that its three losses were to Top 5 programs.
• Talked about the important role Elon's defense has played this year in terms of the Phoenix success, plus the more balanced attack of Elon's offense following their hire of offensive coordinator Mike McCarty.
• Asked to comment on the play of Elon's quarterback Scott Riddle and how he has matured as a football player since the Flames faced the then-rookie last year.
• Spoke about the numerous important games he has coached since coming to Liberty in December 2005 and where this upcoming game ranks among those played over the last three years.
• Remarked about the Flames' defensive changes against Gardner-Webb, including increased involvement of Tim Torrence into the line-up.
• Commented on the team's substitution pattern used against Gardner-Webb and if Liberty went back to the Presbyterian game to review how its defense played against the Blue Hose.
• Asked to remark about the low number of penalties by either team in the Gardner-Webb game and if either team's style of play led to the infrequent flags.
• Spoke about whether he has been downplaying the possibilities of making the playoffs up until this week by design, trying to keep his players focused on the game at hand.
• Asked to comment about whether the result from last year's game against Elon is still lingering in the minds of the players and how that might affect the team's motivation heading into this weekend.
• Closed by giving an injury update, including the practice and playing status of Colin Dugan and Rashad Jennings.
You can access the audio link to today's press conference by clicking here or by clicking the link at the top of this page.
Rocco meets weekly with members of the local media each Tuesday throughout the season and LibertyFlames.com will bring you the audio file following the weekly event.