Spokane is going from defeating No. 2 Orlando and No. 1 Arizona the last two weeks to facing an injury-plagued Pittsburgh team with a losing record.
And that creates a new set of challenges.
“It’s hard to look at film and say they’re a team like Arizona or Orlando because they’re not,” Shock coach Rob Keefe said. “They’ve got 10 guys on injured reserve, more than a third of the team and Coach (Chris) Siegfried is doing everything he possibly can to keep that team going.
“The test is how professional can you be after beating No. 2 and No. 1? If you play to their level we could lose this game. If you continue to dominate regardless of who is in front of you that’s the mark of greatness.”
Both teams are 3-4 heading into Saturday night’s Arena Football League contest at Consol Energy Center. That record leaves the Power in second place in the American Conference East Division. Spokane sits in last place, three games behind Arizona, in the National Conference West.
Spokane has won three of its last four. The offense has put up at least 60 points in four consecutive games. Pittsburgh has dropped three of four and hasn’t scored 60 points in a game this season.
Pittsburgh, due to injuries, has played four quarterbacks and 12 different players have receptions, including former Shock players Eddie Thompson and Lonnell DeWalt. Starting quarterback Bernard Morris, bothered by an injury in his right (throwing) arm, is questionable tonight. He was activated from injured reserve last week but didn’t play against Georgia.
“We’re getting the next three years of injuries out of the way now,” said Siegfried, who coached Spokane to the 2006 arenafootball2 championship in the franchise’s first season. Keefe was a Shock defensive back that season.
Siegfried sent a text message to Keefe earlier this week, but Keefe didn’t respond.
“I’m a confident guy as it is,” Keefe said. “Definitely the mind games have already been played. There are a lot of coaches in this league that will kind of buddy up to you the week before (a game) and I kind of refuse the buddying up.”
Said Siegfried: “All I did was text him to say if he needed anything give me a holler. I’m not going to take it personally. It’s just professional courtesy to call back.”