Liberty football coach Hugh Freeze has taken a big step forward in his recovery from back surgery nearly one month ago.
Freeze returned to practice for the first time Tuesday since his Aug. 16 surgery for a staph infection, and oversaw the week’s three practices while sitting in a golf cart. He has not needed a wheelchair to get around, and has been standing and walking with minimal assistance.
“It’s been awesome to have him back at practice,” co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Maurice Harris said after Thursday’s practice. “This is the most he’s been around since his surgery, and the kids need him around, we need him around, and then too he needs to be out there so he can get a better gauge of the team and also a better feel of what we’re doing.”
The medical chair Freeze used to coach in this past weekend at Louisiana is set up in the home coaches’ booth at Williams Stadium in case he needs to use it Saturday night against Buffalo.
However, a final determination has not been made from where Freeze will coach against the Bulls.
He used a hospital bed to coach the Flames in the Aug. 31 season opener against Syracuse.
“I think they’re trying to make preparations for him to be on the sidelines,” Harris said. “I don’t think that plan has been solidified.”
Harris said the current plan will have him remain on the sidelines and have quarterbacks coach Kent Austin in the coaches’ booth. Freeze said earlier in the week either he or Austin, the co-offensive coordinator, could be on the field to better communicate with quarterback Buckshot Calvert during the game.
“I will stay on the field if he has to go up,” said Harris, who has served as Freeze’s proxy on the field during the season’s first two weeks.