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Flames Begin Second Week of Practice

March 31, 2010  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Mike Brown drops back to pass during a spring practice workout session on Tuesday.

Mike Brown drops back to pass during a spring practice workout session on Tuesday.

Following two days of rest over the weekend, Liberty's football team returned to the turf at Williams Stadium, Tuesday afternoon, to begin its second week of spring football practice.

The Tuesday afternoon regiment called for the same structure as Saturday morning's practice, one where head coach Danny Rocco was not pleased with the effort from his squad. However, the two-time national coach of the year finalist was certainly singing a different tune following yesterday's workout.

"I thought our practice yesterday was real sharp and real crisp," stated Rocco after his team'ssecond practice of the spring in full pads. "The format of the practice was the same in terms of the kinds of drills we had on the schedule to do. However, the execution and intensity were a lot better, and all in all, I was very pleased with what I saw out there yesterday."

"We have one more session where we will continue to emphasize our base first and second down offense/defense and that session will be on Thursday," continued Rocco. "After that, things will start to change as we will add different situations into the practice schedule."

As Rocco has done since he arrived on Liberty Mountain in December 2005, the Flames' first five practices of the spring season focus on the squad's core offensive and defensive calls. The coaching staff will use this time to evaluate the personnel that it has in each position, making sure they have the right player for the type of play they will call next fall when this squad hits the field for the 2010 season.

"We have a number of offenses and defenses on a particular play call which will feature a specific position," said Rocco when asked about the purpose of his practice plan for the first five sessions of the spring. "We want to make sure we have the right guys in those positions, so when we make those calls, we have the best opportunity to be successful."

"In general, we are still looking at the players' ability to execute the proper technique and the fundamentals that go along with each play," added Rocco. "We are looking for consistency of play. One of the things that can happen quite often is that a young player can show you he has the ability to do the job, but he does not do it with enough consistency."

Rocco's practice plan for the first five practices of the spring calls for multiple sessions of the same type of play, allowing for times of repetition, something the fifth-year head coach believes is key to success for both young and experienced players.

"With our system for our first five days of the spring, everything we are doing is considered to be core stuff," remarked Rocco. "In order to be a good football player, you have to master the core elements of your position and that is what we are focusing on during these first five practices."

Rocco will wrap up the opening third of his spring practice slate on Thursday afternoon, by holding a two-hour practice which will feature 96 scripted plays. During this time, first, second and third-string units will be tested upon the various skill sets they have been instructed upon since spring practice opened last Thursday.

"This week is very critical for us, especially this next Thursday, Friday and Saturday as they are very important to the development of this team," commented Rocco about the remainder of the week. "I mentioned this to our players as they left the field, last night, that the next three practices are really going to are going to have a lot to say about what type of football team we are going to have. It is going to be very hot, as it is going to be in the mid to lower 80s, Thursday, Friday and Saturday."

"On Thursday, we are going to have a practice where we are going to run 96 plays against each other," concluded Rocco. "I expect a lot of work, tempo and physicality out there. I do think these next three days are going to say an awful lot about where our football team is and what kind of football team we can hope to have next year."

Thursday's practice is scheduled to start at 5:15 p.m., and all drills and scripted plays will be held on the turf inside Williams Stadium.