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Flames Close Acclimation Period on Friday

March 25, 2011  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Working out for the second time in less than 24 hours, Liberty held practice No. 2 of its 15-spring football practice season, Friday afternoon, on the turf at Williams Stadium.

The session was Liberty's second in "shells", as the team practiced without full pads as part of its acclimation period, just like the squad does during its August training camp. The Flames will close out their first week of a three-plus week practice slate tomorrow morning at 10:30 a.m., when Liberty's 90-plus man roster will don full pads for the first time.

Last night, Alan York, Flames Sports Network "Voice of the Flames", was out at the two-hour workout under the lights and provided today's video highlight package.

Following this afternoon's practice session, head coach Danny Rocco had the following to say about his squad and his foresight into this spring practice season:

With most of your skill players returning on offense this season, what will be the keys to their further development this spring?
"The two biggest things for this group during the spring will be timing and confidence. The more that you work together with a particular skilled athlete, the better they will show it when it comes to the timing of the passing game, the precision of the route and the placement of the ball. I think these guys are getting to the point where they have a very good understanding of where their strengths lay. Mike [Brown] knows what balls he can throw to what receivers, and is looking good so far this spring. Mike has been banged up so much in the past, but he had a great offseason and looks fit and ready for the spring. I think B.J. Hayes and Pat Kelly look bigger and stronger and they are catching the ball very well. Chris Summers has fully recovered from the injury he suffered last fall and I'm looking forward to seeing these guys getting their timing down as they play together more this spring."

The spring workout season can often be a time to make adjustments and bring in different offensive and defensive schemes. Are you looking to make any changes this spring?
"We certainly are, and we do each and every spring. Offensively, we are going to implement a couple of new formations and some philosophical ideas that we think can help put our best players in the game and spread out the defense. This would allow us to be able to run or pass with the success rate we are looking for. With a quarterback like Mike [Brown], we should have this ability to be more multiple. What we are doing here defensively is building on a three-pronged approach that we implemented last year, with our base 3-4, 3-3-5 and our substituted 4-down front. We are going to be more versatile, as we are further along with the installments of these concepts than we were a year ago at this time. Sometimes it takes a year's worth of practice and repetition to really hone up your call sheet and your game planning."

The spring is also a time when the coaching staff can evaluate underclassmen or where previous reserve players can make a push toward a starting role. Are there two or three players on either side of the football that could step up this spring and catch the attention of the coaching staff?
"I think there are a number of guys who fall into this category. Some guys are in a position where they have to preform, because we need them to step up. Some other guys, we are just waiting to see if they are going to offer what we need to have in a certain role. The positions that we really need to develop this spring are the offensive line and our linebackers. We have to stabilize both positions. Defensively, the players who need to step up this spring are Marques Jenkins, Eric Fath, Nick Sigmon, Jimmy O'Grady and Scott Hyland. Out of the group, I just want to make sure we get the kind of championship-level play we need at that position to succeed. On the offensive line, we are looking at Aaron Lundy to take a big step forward this spring and the same thing for Jay Weatherington. At offensive tackle, between Toney White, Mark Tomlin and Aaron Brown, we need to see a couple of those guys step up."