Scouting Report: Liberty

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Liberty quarterback Malik Willis is a very good athlete. (Photo by Joel Coleman)

The Flames are undefeated, but they’ve only played bad teams; as AISHokie05 noted in his PFF briefing on the sub board, that makes an apples-to-apples comparison pretty darn tough. And that’s just on the surface. Among those bad teams, Southern Miss was down its starting QB and dealing with a bout of COVID trouble, FIU had QB uncertainty as they opened the season against a Liberty team that had already played a game, North Alabama lost their starting QB in the first quarter, and ULM’s punt units gave up three touchdowns on a dropped punt, a blocked punt and a punt return…and then gave up a long return for a bonus.

You can’t even treat Syracuse as a P5 outlier, because it always looked like the Orange had a rough year ahead, and against Liberty they were down their starting QB and a good safety, had linebackers playing through what looked like nasty injuries from the prior game, and had upended their lineups since opening week. If Tech played the Orange, you might see the Hokies pick up 400 yards on the ground.

But there’s more than the players to consider. Liberty completely outcoached Syracuse. Time and time again, Liberty’s offense made the Orange defense align itself into weak positions, and the defense seemed to know some plays before the ball was snapped,