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August 28, 2012Turner Gill begins his first season as head coach at Liberty after spending the last two years at Kansas, where he finished with a 5-19 record.
The Flames enter 2012 picked by the media to finish second in the Big South Conference after going 7-4 (5-1 Big South).
Gill spoke with members of the media about Saturday's season opener at Wake Forest.
Opening statement: "The Lord's been good to us. Our staff have done a great job of preparing our guys this August. They came in here focused. They've really improved from last spring to this pre-season as far as really knowing what we're trying to get accomplished in the spring, and now the guys are having a little bit more fine-tuned on the technique and that's great."
"Our senior leadership, I was really pleased with that too. Our players have worked very, very hard and working well together."
"The defense going to the 4-3 front versus the 3-4 I'm very pleased in the way they have progressed."
"Offensively I thought everyone has continued to improve, and we're really feeling good about the gelling of our football team."
"We went into a special teams area where we didn't have a whole lot of guys back from our kicking, punter and all the holder and everything and so there has been great progress and feel good at going into the season with our kicking duties where we need to be."
On the Demon Deacons: "Wake Forest is going to be a tremendous challenge for us, an outstanding coaching staff there. I really know Jim Grobe personally, and I've also watched him from afar as a coach too. He's really done an outstanding job there at Wake Forest, and really been successful there and so he's a coach and a team that really has some great things going on there."
"They got a returning quarterback [Tanner Price] that he does a lot of great things there for them throwing the ball, and they got a defense playing the odd defense (3-4) and they really can find some people that can make some plays for them, so we know that we've got a tremendous challenge. We're looking forward to going there in Winston-Salem and giving them a great game."
Coach just wanted to get a better idea. You touched on your defense switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3. It looks like you guys have a lot coming back on the defensive front and some guys in the secondary. Just tell me about some of the strengths you and your staff have seen after spending a spring and a fall camp with your new team. "Well I think the biggest thing on the defensive side of the ball I've seen great aggressiveness, I've seen great speed from really all of the positions. We feel pretty good about what we've seen so far. Now, we're just excited to go put it in a game, and see if we can see the same production that we've seen against ourselves, that our defense can come along and do the same thing as being able to penetrate the offense and being able to make plays as far as running to the football."
What do you tell recruits regarding Liberty's intentions for FBS? "Well we talked about that we have finally went to the NCAA, and we have done all the things on paperwork, has okayed by the NCAA, by our administration and really by our board of regents and by everybody that's involved, and it's all full-throttle and ready to go."
"There has been a lot of talk about Liberty going, but we have made a final decision from everybody to go forward with this, so now it's just a matter of the conference has to invite us. We're ready to go. Our chancellor said that we can take within 24-48 hours to make a decision to go to the FBS, and once we get a conference to give us that opportunity we're going to jump on it and move forward."
"That's going to give them an opportunity to play at the highest level, [which is] what most people want an opportunity to do. You're going to have that opportunity if you decide to come here in the four years that we will be FBS."
Stay tuned to Deacons Illustrated for more in-depth pre-game and postgame coverage and analysis on Wake Forest and Liberty.