Hugh Freeze has quickly turned Liberty into a nationally relevant football program, and his players proved on Thursday how much they love playing for him.
Freeze and Liberty agreed to a contract extension that ties the head coach to the program through 2028. The deal is worth more than $4 million annually, according to ESPN’s Chris Low. That makes Freeze one of the highest-paid non-Power Five coaches in the country. To celebrate the occasion, Liberty players surprised Freeze at their team meeting on Thanksgiving by blasting the song “Get Paid” by Young Dolph.
Freeze clearly appreciated the love. He exclaimed “Oh man, I just got it!” after the song ended.
Liberty is 7-4 this season heading into their regular-season finale against Army. They finished 10-1 last year and closed out the season ranked 17th in the nation. Their growth has been impressive, especially when you consider that they just joined the FBS in 2018.
Freeze has been mentioned as a candidate for some much bigger jobs, but it doesn’t sound like he’s going anywhere anytime soon. His players are clearly thrilled about that.
Whoever runs the Ole Miss football Twitter account got a little carried away after Saturday’s win over Liberty.
The Rebels beat Liberty 27-14 on Saturday in a win that had some extra significance. Liberty is coached by Hugh Freeze, who coached Ole Miss from 2012 to 2016 before being forced out amid a slew of recruiting scandals.
There appeared to be some lingering hard feelings over those scandals.
First, the Ole Miss football account tweeted a message that mocked a message sent by Freeze in 2013. Freeze’s 2013 message addressed then-allegations of recruiting impropriety.
Ole Miss’ social media team wasn’t done there.
Shortly afterward, the account tweeted the famous image of Freeze coaching from a hospital bed in 2019 after undergoing surgery.
Both tweets were deleted after receiving a mixed reception. Many enjoyed the taunting, arguing that Ole Miss had a right to hold a grudge after Freeze left the football program in shambles. Others felt that it was over the top, especially when considering Ole Miss administrators bore some culpability for the scandals that took place under the former coach.
Whatever the case, don’t expect Ole Miss’ current coach to have much sympathy considering what he dealt with on his return to a former employer.
Liberty won the Cure Bowl 37-34 over Coastal Carolina in overtime on Saturday, but they nearly fumbled it away on a terrible play in the final minute of regulation.
The game was tied at 34 and Liberty had a 1st-and-goal from the Coastal Carolina 3-yard line with 1:35 left. They handed the ball off Joshua Mack, who hung out for a few seconds before going down. Liberty was intent on trying to run some clock to set up a winning field goal. But then they gave the ball to Mack on second-and-goal with 52 seconds left. That time, Mack sort of tried to go into the end zone for a touchdown, but he got stripped and lost a fumble.
Coastal Carolina got the ball back and ran out the clock in regulation to go to overtime. Liberty got the ball first and kicked a field goal to go up 37-34. Then Coastal Carolina got it and tried a tying field goal on fourth down but their kick was blocked.
Despite Liberty’s best efforts to screw things up, the Flames got the win.
Three days before Liberty’s scheduled game against Coastal Carolina, neither team knows if they’ll be playing this weekend — or who they’ll be playing.
According to Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports, Liberty is dealing with an “uptick” in COVID-19 cases that has left its game against Coastal Carolina in doubt. The situation is complex for both teams, as Coastal Carolina will host College GameDay on Saturday in a rare bit of national exposure for the Sun Belt school. Liberty also wants to play against a Top 25 opponent.
Multiple reports indicated that Coastal Carolina is instead looking into playing BYU if Liberty cannot play the game. The Cougars have an open weekend and would welcome the opportunity to bolster their playoff resume. In fact, according to Feldman, there are tentative preparations to allow BYU to completely fill Liberty’s spot, including hotel and meal accommodations.
Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated laid out three potential scenarios. One is Liberty playing as scheduled, while another involves BYU taking Liberty’s place, which the Cougars have already done some background prep for. In addition, Coastal Carolina could even move next week’s scheduled game against Troy up a week.
BYU would probably welcome Liberty not being able to play. Despite being 9-0, they have not been looked at favorably by the selection committee. The No. 18 Chanticleers would end up being a decent resume game if the Cougars could play and win it.