Hugh Freeze sets realistic expectations for first season at Liberty


LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Hugh Freeze is ambitious and determined to take the Liberty football program to its first ever bowl game. He made that clear when he was hired in December 2018.

“You know what I asked our players is how many have been to a bowl game and not a single one raised their hand and I said right then, we want to be the Christopher Columbuses of Liberty University and that’s our goal. And that’s our bowl game next year and our focus and our drive will be on letting those young men experience that,” Freeze said in his introductory press conference on December 7, 2018.

“Nothing will give me greater joy than to see our young men get to experience that. And I will spend the better part of my time until that moment occurs. And it will occur and it’s going to occur fast.”

But the question now is, how fast?

The short answer is not too fast. In fact, it might take a year or two.

Freeze is being realistic when it comes to his expectations for the 2019 season, which will be the first year that Liberty is fully eligible to play in a postseason bowl game.

But to be fair, Freeze is always cautious when he takes over a football program. Liberty marks his fourth program as a collegiate head coach.

“Here’s the only thing that I tell our kids. Our goal is to play 60 minutes of passionate fundamentally sound football and let’s see what the scoreboard says. I’ve always used that in year one. In every place I’ve been. Because there’s so many unknowns for me,” Freeze said during fall camp.

The 2019 Flames schedule features very challenging power five opponents, including ACC programs like UVA and Syracuse.

And despite the players’ dreams of making school history, Freeze has a more tempered approach to his first year with Liberty.

“I’m a bit uncertain and truthfully, I love our kids and I love what they’re bringing but a lot of them were recruited to play FCS football,” Freeze said. “We’ll see what the scoreboard says at the end of those things and I think if we do that, we’ll all be okay and say that we’re taking steps forward.”

Liberty opens the 2019 season at home on August 31 against Syracuse.

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