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Flames Begin Spring with First Practice

March 25, 2010  Lynchbug, Va.  RSS
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Rising junior quarterback Mike Brown spend time under center during Liberty's first practice of the spring on Thursday.

Rising junior quarterback Mike Brown spend time under center during Liberty's first practice of the spring on Thursday.

In the shadow of its ever expanding stadium, the Flames football program started to prepare for its 2010 season by holding its first spring practice, Thursday afternoon, inside Williams Stadium.

Over the next four weeks, Liberty will hold a total of 15 spring practice sessions, culminating in the program's annual spring game on April 17 at 1 p.m.

As they do during their yearly preseason training camp in August, the Flames will open their spring workout schedule with a brief acclimation period. Today and tomorrow, Liberty will practice without pads, before undergoing its first full-contact practice on Saturday morning.

During today's two-hour practice, conducted in windy conditions and periodic rain showers, Liberty ran through numerous drills based upon its base offense and base defense. Liberty, which returns players who were responsible for 85 percent of the offense that led the country in scoring last year, showed signs of brilliance at times, as well as moments that will require improvement, including numerous loss balls.

Following the workout, head coach Danny Rocco took some time to talk with members of the media and with LibertyFlames.com, where the two-time national coach of the year finalist gave his thoughts on the team's first practice of the spring.

When asked about how things went today:
"I thought we did some good things today. I always have high expectations and hopes, but I've been doing this long enough to be realistic and understand what it could look like on the first day."

"When we had our first teams out there, our experienced players, it looked like it was pretty good football. But when we went to some of the back-up units and we started to mix some of the personnel groups, it didn't look quite as good, just because we had guys out there that have not played very much."

"Offensively, I thought that Mike (Brown) and Tyler (Brennan) both looked solid at quarterback and we have enough skill that when we get the ball distributed properly, we look like we have the ability to score some points."

"Defensively, I just see that we have more speed on the field than I've ever seen since we've been here at Liberty, and that is one of the most positive things that I can take out of today."

When asked about finally being back on the field:
"It felt really good and as I shared with the Flames Club members at their luncheon today, I mentioned that last year was the first time we did not win our last game of the season, and that kind of sticks with you for a good while."

"These guys were anxious to get back into practice and get back into this routine, as well as the coaches. I think we took a step forward, even though it might have just been a little step, but it was a step forward. I think the table is set for us to go out there and have a very productive spring."

The Flames will return to the turf at Williams Stadium, tomorrow afternoon, at 4:15 p.m., for their second and last non-contact practice before donning full pads for the first time on Saturday morning.