Shock go after first win
Spokane head coach Rob Keefe knows that many are questioning his team and his tactics after an 0-2 Arena Football League start and his abrupt dismissal of offensive coordinator Fred Biletnikoff Jr. earlier this week.
Keefe believes the Shock will have the right answers when they visit Iowa (0-1) Friday night at 5 PDT.
“I think it’s going to be a great, the atmosphere of a sell-out crowd on NFL Network with all eyes on us because people think we’re down,” Keefe said. “I think it’s to show, ‘Hey we’re here, why’d you forget about us?’ I think we’re going to put on a show.”
The Shock, 0-2 for the first time in the franchise’s six-year history, have struggled in all facets while losing at No. 1 San Jose and to visiting Cleveland.
Iowa was clobbered by Pittsburgh 58-28 in its season opener. Former Iowa Hawkeyes quarterback Brad Banks tossed four touchdown passes to Todd Blythe, but Banks was intercepted three times. Spokane, which defeated Iowa 48-42 in Des Moines last year on NFL Network, is minus-3 in turnover margin through two games.
“Both teams need a win,” Keefe said. “Everyone assumes that putting on a Shock jersey is going to win you a championship, but the breakdown of the film last two weeks has proven to the guys that things are there. We have to capitalize.”
Keefe, who apologized to the media earlier this week for skipping out on postgame interviews last Saturday, will call offensive and defensive plays.
“I want to give (quarterback) Kyle (Rowley) a good environment to play in,” he said. “Our pass protection is great, now let’s get the skills involved and having fun again.”
Defensively, Keefe said, “We have to make sure the ball is getting down there on kickoffs, pinning them deep. This starting at the 25-, 20-yard line, it’s just hard. We have five good defensive backs. It’s a matter of who are going to be three great ones.”
Ruschard Dodd-Masters will join Alex Teems and Terrance Sanders in the secondary with Josh Ferguson as the fourth DB. Standout receiver Markee White was placed on injured reserve with a foot injury, but Raul Vijil is expected to play after missing last week’s game with an illness. New offensive assistant coach Andy Olson will be at the game.