CLARKSBURG, W.Va – 2022 is set to be a year for the Liberty football to find its footing again.

2021 was a season that had some serious highs and lows but ultimately, a three-game losing streak to end the season for the Mountaineers saddled them with their first losing season ever under head coach AJ Harman.

As he embarks on his eighth season in charge, Harman is looking for his team to discover exactly what type of silhouette it wants to strike on the field this year.

“We’re trying to find our identity here in two-a-days and we want to be a physical football team. We hang our hat on being hard-nosed and hitting and running the football, playing good defense so right now we’re just trying to reestablish who we are as a team and a program,” he said.

After last year’s 4-6 finish, there was plenty of desire from the Mountaineers to get back over the .500 mark in 2022.

While the style that Harman asks his team to play may be demanding, they believe they’re up to the task after a strong offseason.

“It’s tough. It’s a lot of hard work. It’s a lot of hitting. It’s a lot of physical contact,” offensive lineman Braden Tenda said. “We did a lot of lifting over the offseason. We ran a lot. We just tried to get our best in shape for when season started.”

That hard work from the summer has carried over into preseason camp and Harman has grown pleased with the intensity he’s seen from his team on the practice field so far.

“Well, last season left a bad taste in our mouth,” he said, “It wasn’t what we consider a successful season and so this year we’ve had a really nice camp so far here in August.”

Equally important to his team’s success, Harman has watched this team come together off the field as well with the unity they bring into Week 1 being a calling card for this group so far.

“It’s been so much fun to coach these guys because of the camaraderie. They’re showing up. They’re trusting the coaching staff, working extremely hard. This season there’s really a good feeling around our team,” he said.

When you ask the guys who will strap the pads onm next friday, the key to everything has been that work they put in during the offseason and they believe it will be enough to make a difference.

“All of our hard work that we put in. Everybody showing up, everybody trying their best,” Tenda said, “We don’t got many players but we’re putting in all the work for all the players we got.”

While many may turn their focus to seeing if Liberty can make its way back into the playoffs this year, the Mountaineers are taking it one week at a time and a return to the postseason may be in the cards if they can make the incremental improvements they’ve set their focus on.

“I know it’s coaches’ talk but we’re just taking it one day at a time. We’ve got goals for the day, things that we want to improve at and if we can get better at one thing each practice then we’re moving in the right direction,” Harman said.

Liberty opens the 2022 season with a home game, squaring off with Elkins on August 26.