Observers generally can get a feel for a first-year head coach’s intentions by the first drill ordered up at the first practice.
So after 42 players stretch and warm up for today’s first training-camp practice, Spokane Shock head coach Andy Olson wants to see the players in a highly competitive situation.
“It will be one-on-ones, offensive linemen and defensive linemen and receivers against defensive backs,” Olson said.
Olson was promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach roughly 10 days after Rob Keefe was fired last August. Following an offseason spent assembling his coaching staff and providing input on roster personnel, Olson is ready to focus his attention on the field.
The Shock (9-10) made the Arena Football League playoffs last season, but they were ousted by Arizona in the first round. Spokane has won three arena championships in its six-year existence.
Quarterback Erik Meyer, returning from a concussion and shoulder injury that cut short his 2011 season, “looks great” following offseason conditioning, Olson said.
Olson is eager to see in action former Shock players Charles Frederick, Jeremy Geathers and Travis Williams, who have returned to the team. Frederick was an explosive playmaker for Spokane in 2006 and was the AFL co-rookie of the year in 2007 with Kansas City. Geathers and Williams played key roles in Spokane’s 2010 championship run.
“It’ll be interesting to see how Charles is moving around and if he can do the same things he was successful doing in the AFL,” Olson said. “I’m excited to see Travis play and I want to see how explosive (Geathers) is. When he was in his prime before a knee injury (in the CFL), he was unmatched with how quickly he came off the ball.”
Spokane doesn’t have a ton of AFL experience, which puts a premium on “getting these guys who haven’t played this game familiar with the ins and outs, the rules and how to operate on the field,” Olson said.
He’ll keep a close eye on the offensive line and receivers. Ben Ossai, a returning lineman, will be with the Shock until June when he heads to the CFL.
Spokane must trim its roster to 24 by March 3.
Spokane Shock wide receiver Adron Tennell has been placed on league suspension after his arrest for alleged sexual misconduct earlier this month.
The 24-year-old Tennell, a substitute teacher at Irving (Texas) High School, is alleged to have had inappropriate contact with a 16-year-old Irving High student at an off-campus location Jan. 23, Pat Lamb, Irving Independent School District director of school safety and operations, told an Irving newspaper. After an investigation by the Irving Police Department, Tennell was arrested Feb. 4.