4 questions with a Liberty beat writer

New Mexico State wide receiver Tyrain Taylor carries against the defense of Georgia State cornerback Bruce Dukes during the second first of an NCAA college football game in Las Cruces, N.M., Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. (Photo by Andres Leighton)

New Mexico State wide receiver Tyrain Taylor carries against the defense of Georgia State cornerback Bruce Dukes during the second first of an NCAA college football game in Las Cruces, N.M., Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. (Photo by Andres Leighton)

Damien Sordelett covers Liberty for the Lynchburg News & Advance. He took a few minutes to answer a few questions I had about Saturday’s game between Georgia State and the Flames at the Georgia Dome:

Who is the impact player on Liberty’s defense and what has he done this season?

Defensive end Chima Uzowihe is Liberty’s most explosive player, recording 5.5 sacks through the season’s first four games. Uzowihe has the size for a prototypical defensive end (6-foot-2) and he’s added 10 pounds of muscle to get to 250 pounds. He still has the speed to get around tackles, but his added strength allows him to use his hands to be more physical at the point of attack and now muscle his way into the backfield. The defense goes as Uzowihe goes. He has recorded 4.5 sacks in the team’s two victories (Delaware State and Montana) and only one sack in the two losses (West Virginia and Southern Illinois).

 

What kind of quarterback is Woodrum? Is he a risk-taker? What makes him so effective?

Josh Woodrum does not take too many chances, often relying on offensive coordinator Aaron Stamn’s play calls on when to take shots down the field. Woodrum has been a starter since early in his redshirt-freshman season, so he has the poise to not let the game get away from him. In last weekend’s contest against Southern Illinois, he missed a couple of deep passes that would have either resulted in big gains or touchdowns. That has been the area he has worked on the most to improve. His vision of the field and ability to slide up in the pocket to buy time while a play is developing are two of his most valuable traits.

 

How have opponents beaten Liberty this year?

West Virginia and Southern Illinois held Liberty out of the end zone in the first half and combined to outscore the Flames 40-6. In both games, Liberty had prime opportunities to score touchdowns, but not executing to extend drives and then failing to convert on fourth-and-short have been the Flames’ downfall. The plays have been there to score, but execution has been a problem.

 

What is the mindset of the Flames going into this game? Nothing to lose, or something to prove seeing as how the Sun Belt doesn’t seem interested in adding them?

Liberty has everything to lose in this game. The Flames need another marquee victory on the resume entering Big South Conference play in case winning the conference doesn’t come to fruition. Falling to 2-3 entering conference play is not ideal, especially with Coastal Carolina and Charleston Southern playing well. The players and coaches won’t say it, but there is something to prove this weekend. Liberty had the same mindset last season playing Appalachian State in Boone, North Carolina, and winning that contest in overtime. However, the Flames were likely still hopeful of landing an invitation from the Sun Belt. After the announcement before the season began that Coastal was heading to the Sun Belt, there will likely be a little more emotion to prove the Flames belong in the FBS.


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