Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the Liberty Flames season with what you need to know.
Preview 2018: Liberty Flames
Liberty is about to be extremely pesky.
The program would be a great fit for the Sun Belt, but that’s not happening quite yet, Conference USA would be a huge landing spot, and the American Athletic Conference would be a dream, but for now, it’s coming into the FBS world as an independent whose job it’ll be to screw up everyone else.
The Big South star under Turner Gill over the last six years – with six winning seasons, four conference championships, and a 41-29 record – will now try to hit the ground running after gearing up for life in the FBS.
By design, this is a young team with a whole lot of depth and a whole slew of positives for a team that most will dismiss as an FCS new guy that’s literally out of its league.
After all, despite going 6-5 last year with a stunning win over Baylor to kick things off, there were some rough blowout losses, three close call victories by a combined seven points, and enough concerns defensively to be worried about what life will be like against the big boys.
But again, the plan is in place, and it should bring wins in Gill’s reemergence in the big leagues.
The one-hit wonder of head coaches the first time around – everything went right in a 2008 MAC championship season at Buffalo – Gill parlayed his success into a nice contract at Kansas, paid off after just five wins in two seasons.
But as he’s shown in Lynchburg, he knows how to win, he’s got the program in the right spot at the right time, and he might just come up with a stunner of a first season at the higher level with a young team that should only be stronger in 2019.
The passing game will be fantastic, with QB Stephen Calvert and a whole host of talented receivers ready to bomb away. The line is loaded with veterans, the defense that had consistency problems last year welcomes back nine starters, and there’s depth, solid recruits, and the energy to make this all work.
The program isn’t eligible for a bowl game in this first season, and there’s no conference title to play for. So it’s going to crash the party and show that it’s ready to be a factor.
And maybe, the program will be just too good for the conferences to ignore.