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Spokane Empire

Former Shock receiver Olson finds new role as coordinator

Tue., March 29, 2011, 9:13 p.m.

Andy Olson knows that life

and football games can change

in a hurry.

Ten days ago, Olson was

living in Bellingham with his

wife and their two young

children. Then Spokane Shock

head coach Rob Keefe, who had

fired offensive coordinator Fred

Biletnikoff Jr. earlier that day,

called with a job offer.

“My wife and I spent a few

hours talking about our

options,” said Olson, who left

his job as a concrete laborer for

a construction company. “It was

an easy decision for me, because

it’s something I love to do. It’s

hard on our kids, because my

daughter is in preschool. It was

———————- ———————-

an opportunity I couldn’t pass


Two days later, Olson drove

across the state, arriving 20

minutes before last Tuesday’s

practice. He poured himself

into practice, videotape and

game-planning for a couple of

days and accompanied the team

on the road trip to Iowa. Olson

called most of the plays in

Spokane’s 43-42 loss, though

Keefe was on the field relaying

the plays to quarterback Kyle


“The reason we did it that

way was because I knew it

would be a hostile environment

and I wanted him to get his feet

under him,” Keefe said. “I’m a

prideful person, but I’m

definitely not stubborn. I have

my hands full. Taking on the

offense was really a one-week


———————- ———————-

“He’s the


coordinator. I’m

putting my spin

on it and what I

want to see, but

I really believe in Andy.”

Olson had 220 receptions as a

Shock receiver from 2008-09.

Keefe tried to bring him back

last season when injuries hit the

receiver position with the idea

of eventually transitioning into


The 28-year-old Olson faces a

challenge similar to the one

Keefe, now 30, took on when he

was named head coach last year:

coaching players who were once


“He just said to be myself,”

Olson said of Keefe’s advice.

“My personality is to have a lot

of energy and be very positive. I

think that’s why he gave me this

———————- ———————-

chance, because he saw a lot of

himself in me.”

Olson played receiver at

Western Washington University,

earning All-Great Northwest

Athletic Conference first-team

honors three times.

“He brings a great attitude, he’s serious about football and he loves the game,” Rowley said. “He’s a stickler as far as the receivers because he was one, and he’s being pretty hard on me, which I like.”

Olson’s family will be reunited in Spokane later this week. Until then, he will be logging long hours to prepare for Friday’s home game against Kansas City.

“I’m still trying to catch up and get ahead. Last week I was with Keefe most of the time. This week I’m doing most of it by myself,” he said. “The coaches probably put four hours into every player’s one. Even though I’m working, it’s something I’m enjoying while I’m doing it so I have no complaints.”

Frustrating loss

The Shock committed 13 penalties

and five turnovers in the loss to Iowa.

After scoring on its first four

possessions, Spokane produced

touchdowns on just two of its last

eight. The Shock didn’t score in the

last 13 minutes. Iowa, which had three

turnovers, didn’t score in the final


“Yes, I’m irritated and disappointed

at the lack of mental focus,” Keefe

said. “It’s definitely unacceptable to

have poorly thrown balls, fumbled

snaps, to line up inappropriately, but I

believe we’re going through this for a

reason and I believe it’s going to stop

———————- ———————-

this week.

“Nobody has beaten us, we’ve

beaten ourselves. The good thing is

it’s all correctable.”

Sick bay

Spokane took its lumps on the field

against Iowa and in the training room.

Linebacker Antwan Marsh and

receiver Emery Sammons suffered

concussions on the same play as they

sandwiched an Iowa kick returner.

Receiver Shaun Kauleinamoku (turf

toe) watched Tuesday’s practice but

he expects to return soon. Defensive

lineman Terrance Taylor (ankle)

probably won’t play Friday.

“I don’t remember much about the

game,” Marsh said. “I asked (fullback)

Clay (Harrell) four or five times, ‘What

happened?’ He finally said, ’Twan, you

got hit in the head.’”

Marsh’s and Sammons’s status for

Friday will be determined later this


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