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Thursday Serves as Final Full Tune-Up for LU

April 15, 2010  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Pat Kelly sets up to head out for a pass during Thursday's practice, Liberty's last in full pads before Saturday's spring game.

Pat Kelly sets up to head out for a pass during Thursday's practice, Liberty's last in full pads before Saturday's spring game.

Liberty will don full pads once more this spring, but it will not be until the team takes to the field for their annual spring game on Saturday.

Thursday afternoon's workout was the last time Liberty will take to the turf inside Williams Stadium in full pads for a practice this spring. During the two-hour session, its' 13th practice of the spring, the Flames' coaching staff had one last chance to review and install any new items into its play book.

The Flames held a simulated-type scrimmage during the practice, as the coaching staff was trying to prepare their squad for Saturday's spring game, so that the team would be able to function in all game-type situations.

Head Coach Danny Rocco ran numerous plays during Thursday afternoon's practice, without full contact, in hopes of preserving the team's ability to play a full scrimmage on Saturday.

"We went through a number of situations today," stated Rocco. "We went through down and distance situations and substitutions, and anything that might come up in the game on Saturday. We want to make sure that we are organized and look like we are ready to play a full game."

The scrimmage period including several nine and 10 play drives, where Liberty's offense and defense was forced to stay on the field for an extended period of time. The down and distance was scripted, with the coaching staff moving the ball up and down the field regardless of the results of the play.

"This type of drill forces our coaches to have to make calls and substitutions on third-and-long, so our players could practice substituting in and out, just like they will on Saturday or during a regular game," continued Rocco.

Tomorrow, Liberty will return to the practice field for its final tune-up, where they will work on various unique special teams situations, plus one last look at Saturday's final scrimmage.

Starting at 4:15 p.m. and working in just shells, Liberty's Friday practice will give Rocco a chance to work on various kickoff and punt return drills, plus allow offensive coordinator Brandon Streeter and defensive coordinator Tom Clark each time with their respective units to go over Saturday's "game plan."

Following today's practice, LibertyFlames.com had a chance to sit down with Rocco and talk with him regarding his punt and kickoff return units and how they have progressed during this spring.

"We have a number of candidates on our return units. We have yet to definitively say who our starters will be when we get into the fall.

"We did not do live work on our kick return or punt return this spring. We did catch a lot of punts and kickoffs, but we didn't do any live work, just drill work this spring. We never went 11-on-11, as punt and kickoff returns are probably the most dangerous plays in all of football.

"To do a lot of that in the spring does not make as much sense to me. We certainly do it during the summer preseason camp, but I stay away from it during spring workouts.

"As the punt returners start to stack up, Jimmy Eden, B.J. Hayes, Ervin Garner and Ron Hobby are all strong candidates to go back there and do that, as they've got great speed.

"On kickoff return, we probably we have even more candidates, as that group could include Danny Broggin, Aldreakis Allen and Korrey Davis.

"We've got a good group of candidates to choose from. What we are going to have to do as we get closer to the start of the season, is to ask ourselves what roles these guys are having on regular down-and-distance situations. We might be putting a guy back there that is not an every snap player on a regular basis on offense or defense."