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Intensity Fuels the Flames under the Lights

April 7, 2011  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Flames battle it out on the goal line during Thursday night's practice.

Flames battle it out on the goal line during Thursday night's practice.

The Flames held one of their more spirited practices of the spring, Thursday night, under the lights of Williams Stadium. The practice began a stretch of three practices over a three-day stretch.

For the second-consecutive Thursday evening practice, Liberty held its practice under the supervision of officials, as the stripped crew watched the Flames run 90-plus scripted plays.

Head coach Danny Rocco was less than thrilled with the effort he saw from his four-time defending Big South championship squad.

He challenged them following the two-hour workout, reminding them that championship football requires determination and starts on the practice field.

Rocco also reminded them that winning championships is not easy and if it were, everyone would be hanging championship banners up in their stadium like the ones adorning the suite level of the Williams Stadium tower.

The scrimmage portion of tonight's practice started a little later than similar practice plans. The offensive and defensive units did not lineup against each other until 45 minutes after the workout started.

Once the two different units hit the line of scrimmage, the action remained fast paced and very lively, causing both sides of the football to have a less than a stellar practice in the eyes of their six-year head coach.

During the first part of the evening, Liberty's run game broke off some lengthy sprints downfield, including bursts to the outside by SirChauncey Holloway and Aldreakis Allen.

The top run of the first part of the scrimmage came from two-time Big South Player of the Year Mike Brown, who faked a handoff to Allen on the right side of the field. Nearly all of Liberty's blue-clad defenders fell for the deception, leaving Brown to beat two players near the line of scrimmage and two more downfield for a 60-yard touchdown run.

Brown finished the first half of practice 4-of-7 on passing attempts, including a screen pass to B.J. Hayes, which the rising senior turned into a 60-yard scoring burst down the sideline.

With roughly 45 minutes remaining in practice, Rocco tested his squad on short-yard situations, where he started the line of scrimmage play at the 22, 12 and three-yard lines.

Liberty's first-team offense shined when called upon from the 22 and 12 yards, scoring on three-straight drives.

The first scoring drive, which came on a two-yard run over the left tackle by Allen, was set up on a 17-yard sideline pass from Brown to B.J. Hayes.

Hayes scored again the next time the first-team unit hit the field, as the wide receiver was handed the ball by Brown and scored on a 12-yard run despite being hit by three tackles very close to the goal line.

The final successful run by Liberty's first-team offense saw Brown roll out and find Pat Kelly on the near side of the field for a 13-yard pass play on a third-and-one situation.

When Rocco moved the ball closer to the goal, starting at the three, both sides of the football took turns "winning" the segment.

The Flames first and second-team defensive units successful halted their counterparts from finding the end zone during the first combative drills. On a fourth-and-goal play from the one-yard line, Allen was fiercely met by three tacklers to deny him the end zone.

When the second-team unit took to the field, Korrey Davis was unable to handle an outside pitch from Tyler Brennan, fumbling the ball away to the defense.

However, the second go-around during the goal line situation belonged to Liberty's white-jerseyed offensive players.

Three-straight rushing attempts by Holloway resulted in the first score, as the rising junior bounced to the outside on his final play to score from three-yards out.

Brennan was able to complete two passes on the three-play drive, including the unit "winner" when Ervin Garner broke free and caught a pass on the backline of the end zone to even the score between the offense and defense.

The Flames will spend most of tomorrow afternoon's workout (4:15 p.m.) rehashing today's practice plan, trying to correct the mishaps during this evening's workout. Officials will return to Williams Stadium for Liberty's Saturday morning practice (10:30 a.m.) for another round of pre-scripted plays from the coaching staff.

Tomorrow,'s coverage of spring football will bring viewers the second of a three-part series with the Flames coordinators. During the four-minute piece, "Voice of the Flames" Alan York will visit with defensive coordinator Tom Clark, who is in his sixth year with the program and will be overseeing Liberty's secondary this upcoming season.