Fans get early look at Shock
Call it Shock Lite.
Sunday’s Orange and White Game at the Arena was a low-voltage affair for almost everyone: coaches, players – even the P.A. announcer, who finally got the crowd charged up in the third quarter despite the lack of free footballs.
By the time the White Team beat the Orange 34-28 on – what else? – a last-second touchdown, the 2,000 fans got a taste of free entertainment that didn’t end until long after the game when every autograph-seeking kid got his fill.
Fans also got their only preseason glimpse of a team that will be on the road for the first three weeks of the Arena Football League season and won’t play in Spokane until April 12 – courtesy of the upcoming NCAA women’s basketball tournament.
“It was a lot of fun out here,” second-year coach Andy Olson said. “It was a great turnout, and hopefully we can get three wins on the road.”
First, Olson and his assistants must trim their roster to 28 players, a job that began immediately after the scrimmage. “We’re going to have the hardest decisions we’ve had all year,” Olson said.
Camp will end next weekend, when four more players must be cut. The Shock, 10-8 last season, open the season March 24 at Cleveland.
With that goal, Olson and his staff evaluated the players in something that approximated a real game. Nobody was keeping stats.
“We’re going to watch the film and get a better idea of what went on here,” Olson said. “I saw a lot of physical talent and a lot of mental breakdowns.
“The talent out here was great, so I think we have some potential.”
Not surprisingly after just one week of practice, the defenses had the edge despite a fast start by the offenses. Quarterbacks Erik Meyer and Arvell Nelson were “not bad,” according to Olson, who added that both “have to get some more continuity with these receivers.”
Meyer, the presumptive starter who struggled with injuries the last two seasons, said “it felt good to air it out, throw some deep balls and put some touch on balls.
“I felt it was a good scrimmage,” Meyer said. “The guys did well.”
The Shock will resume practice Tuesday at their Spokane Valley training facility. … The team has acquired Vaalyn Jackson (6-0, 285), a former McNeese State Cowboy who spent 2012 with the IFL’s Tri-Cities Fever and 2011 with the AFL’s New Orleans VooDoo. As a member of the Voodoo in 2011, Jackson recorded six tackles, one punt block, and one fumble recovery.