Minutemen head to Blacksburg for pigskin opener

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Hope to break losing skid

By Mike Forster

  It’s been a long time since Liberty last won a football game.

In fact, when the Minutemen travel to Blacksburg this Friday evening, it will have been 366 days since the Liberty faithful last celebrated a victory.

Since then, the M-Men have taken it on the chin in nine straight contests.

The good news?  The last time Liberty won, it was over Blacksburg.

The bad news?  The last time Liberty won, it was against a Blacksburg team that had travelled to Bedford.  This time, Liberty will have to win at the Bruin’s Lair.

Things look very promising for the invading Minutemen to come away with the win.

For starters, Blacksburg didn’t look so hot in the Bruins’ opening game:  Coming off its own 1-9 campaign last year, the Blacksburgers were hoping to pick up the win against Giles, a very strong single-A team.

The Spartans trounced the Bruins, however, by a score of 31-6 in front of the Blacksburg faithful.

Liberty looks stronger than it did at this point last year.

For starters, Head Coach Chris Watts has some starters - returning ones, that is.

Last year, the M-Men had just a handful of players with significant varsity experience.  That added substantially to the team’s woes.

This year, all of those bumps and bruises translate into a tough bunch of Minutemen.

The strength seems to be in the backfield.  Watts has five or six legitimate options to man his famed stack-I formation.

Make no bones about it.  When the Liberty offense takes the field on Friday night, its primary goal will be to effectively execute the option.  Passing should be of secondary importance.

In other words, Liberty will be focused on doing the things that brought it so much success over the past dozen years.

Likely starting quarterback Austin Porter looks comfortable with the option, as does Montana Willis, another fine signal caller.

One of those guys will be putting the pigskin in the gut of any number of fellows.  Look for big sophomore Matt Smith to get several bites at the apple.  He’s been a standout in Liberty’s two days of scrimmages leading up to this point.

Don’t discount Tre’von Lightfoot, either.  He’s expected to be the all-purpose guy and might be the most exciting player to boot.

Defensively, linebacker Hunter Taylor will be the guy who the M-Men expect to step up in the opener.  He’ll be getting plenty of help, however.