Liberty begins “newer” era in FBS football under Freeze

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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Last season, Liberty began a new era, making the jump from FCS to FBS, the highest level in college football.

Now the Flames are in a “newer” era after completing the reclassification process to the bowl subdivision and with a new coach at the helm.

Hugh Freeze conducted his first practices of fall camp in Lynchburg this past weekend since taking over the program in the offseason, replacing Turner Gill, who stepped down last December.

The former Ole Miss head coach is already seeing significant progress since spring ball ended. Freeze said in his first press conference since practice opened that his players look stronger, faster and more athletic while his new recruits add some much needed depth to the roster.

“Pleased to this point. Really just pleased with the excitement and passion I saw,” Freeze said. “And just the way we look different.”

As for adjusting to a new head coach, the veteran players on the team say Freeze has definitely brought something different to the Flames.

“Very intense and personal,” senior defensive end Jessie Lemonier said. “He doesn’t mind coming up and telling you what you did wrong but he’ll also help you correct it too and it’s pretty much done immediately.”

Senior quarterback Stephen Buckshot Calvert said Freeze’s coaching style is one that he grew up with.

“Coach Freeze is behind us every time. If you mess up, he’s gonna get at you. He’s gonna coach you up. That’s how I’ve been taught,” Calvert said. “Just somebody on there pushing you, constantly giving you encouragement or correcting your mistakes.”

The season opens at home against ACC opponent Syracuse on August 31.

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