Despite a mediocre 6-5 record for the 2016 season, the same exact record as the year before, the Liberty University football team has high aspirations for the next few years.
The biggest standout of the 2016 season was the true freshman quarterback, Stephen “Buckshot” Calvert. While he entered into the year as the backup to junior quarterback Stephon Masha, Masha’s poor play gave Calvert an opportunity to step into the role in his first year on campus. Aside from his natural talent, reasons for his success include taking extra snaps after practice and building relationships with teammates off the field, according to Tim Cockes, a Liberty University student journalist.
Calvert’s name was able to spread throughout the country very quickly. After a career game against Monmouth on October 22 where Calvert threw for 350 yards and 3 touchdowns, he was named the STATS National Freshman of the Week for all of the FCS. After the completion of the regular season, he came in 10th place for the STATS FCS Jerry Rice Award, which is given to the top performing FCS freshman throughout the season.
“There were other problems throughout the team, but Buckshot [Calvert] was the shining star this year and really gives the fan base a hope for the future for the team,” Dylan West, a sophomore at Liberty University, said.
One big problem that plagued the team throughout the season was poor coaching. Questionable coaching decisions seem to be a common theme each year as fans often complain about the team not seeming prepared each week against their opponent. However, Liberty University President Jerry Falwell has decided to give head coach Turner Gill at least one more season to prove himself after 5 years on the job so far.
Whether or whether not Gill is at the helm, there seems to be great reason for hope for the future with Calvert leading the team for what appears to be the next 3 seasons. He gained great experience against top opponents in this season, and there can only be room for improvement, especially if he keeps at it with his strong work ethic.
“Calvert told me in our interview that with this work ethic, he hopes to become a leader that teammates follow his example and strive for greatness alongside him,” Cockes said.
Broadcast News Script
Liberty Football finished the 2016 season with a 6 and 5 record and a share of the Big South Conference Title// While the mediocre record was a repeat of the previous season/ there is hope for the future due to some bright spots on this team// True freshman quarterback Stephen “Buckshot” Calvert entered into the starting role halfway through the season and progressed into a solid leader for the future// With Calvert at quarterback and plenty of excellent young players surrounding him/ the Flames will seek to do much better in next year’s campaign//