LAFAYETTE, La. — Liberty football coach Hugh Freeze had a much better vantage point sitting in a medical chair for Saturday night’s game against Louisiana than the previous week lying in a hospital bed. He was able to see more of the field and get a better grasp for what was going on during the Flames’ 35-14 loss to the Ragin’ Cajuns at Cajun Field.
One thing in particular stood out for Freeze in his initial evaluation moments after the game: There seemed to be a disconnect between quarterback Buckshot Calvert and where he should have delivered passes multiple times. Several of the senior’s 16 incomplete passes were thrown into double- and triple-coverage when other options were open for what could have been significant gains.
“We called one of our simplest plays twice [Saturday] and it was as simple of a read as you can give somebody sitting here and seeing it,” Freeze said. “Both opportunities were like in second-and-6 situations, which I think both would result in first downs if we just read it correct and we move on. We totally go to the wrong side in our decision-making. That is a disconnect for me because I know how many times we’ve practiced that. I’ve got to figure that out.”
Calvert made all the proper reads on the Flames’ opening drive, completing all five of his passes and capping the series with a 12-yard shovel pass touchdown to slot receiver DJ Stubbs.
He finished the game completing 21 of 37 passes for 212 yards, and he was sacked three times.
“We kind of had a gameplan already on the coverages they were going to run and they kind of stuck to them,” Calvert said. “They did a good job with their blitzes and getting after me. I felt like we had a good gameplan; they just came out and executed better.”
There were several instances during the game in which a play developed and resulted in a wide receiver getting loose in the secondary. Calvert missed a deep pass to Kevin Shaa on the third drive of the first quarter, and then missed a couple more chances to find Shaa behind the secondary when he went to another wide receiver in coverage.
“What I saw on the field, they kind of popped open late,” Calvert said. “Maybe being a little bit more patient in my drop and let the plays develop more and that will probably help me. If I keep focusing on that, I will probably be able to connect on the big plays down the field.”
Calvert only completed three passes of longer than 20 yards against the Cajuns (1-1) and his primary completions were either in the flat or down the sideline.
He completed 9 of 17 passes in the second half, and he was sacked on a fourth-down play at the Louisiana 3-yard line after failing to take advantage of 6-foot-4 receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden in single coverage.
“You can’t take a sack on fourth down there and you’ve got AGG in a one-on-one, so let’s give it a shot,” Freeze said. “I know I can help with that.”
Calvert has gotten off to a shaky start to the season against Syracuse and Louisiana. He has completed 41 of 76 passes for 446 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. He also has been sacked 10 times.
“Mistakes happen, stuff that I’ve got to clean up, but obviously we don’t want to have those turnovers,” Calvert said. “That just comes with taking care of the ball and knowing certain situations and knowing that you’ve got to protect the football at all times.”
Damien Sordelett covers Liberty University athletics and local golf for The News & Advance. Reach him at (434) 385-5550.