Shock spend week as AFL road warriors
The Spokane Shock’s home away from home this week is a Chicago hotel, a bus, a meeting room and an indoor soccer center.
The Shock elected to stay in Chicago after thumping the Rush 76-61 on Sunday to prepare for Friday’s game against Iowa in Des Moines. With the quick turnaround, if they’d returned to Spokane on Monday they’d have been back at the airport Thursday.
“Since it was Sunday-Friday (game schedule) it made more sense to stay,” said majority owner Brady Nelson, who noted that staying also saved a small amount of money. “If it was Friday-Friday or Saturday-Saturday we would have come back.”
So how is the Arena Football League team spending its time?
“It’s been a little different but it’s been pretty good so far,” head coach Andy Olson said after Tuesday’s practice. “We have meetings in the hotel. We have a projector and computer hooked up and we watch film on a white screen. We’re doing it the old school way.”
The mornings begin with breakfast, meetings and/or film study and then they bus to practice at a soccer facility. They gather for lunch, then more meetings and the coaching staff huddles again after dinner.
“I wouldn’t say there’s a ton of free time,” Olson said. “It’s kind of good to keep wraps on everybody. They’re a really focused group.”
The team will bus 5 hours west to Des Moines today.
It’s early, but Spokane is putting up some impressive numbers on both sides of the ball. The Shock have scored 21 total touchdowns – one via kick return, one on a bar-ball recovery and scores on all 19 offensive possessions.
Spokane and Arizona share the AFL’s top scoring offense (71.5 ppg). The Shock lead the league in touchdowns (21) and pass efficiency (138) and they’re tied for No. 1 in first downs (47). They’re one of three teams perfect on fourth-down conversions (3 for 3), one of two teams that haven’t allowed a sack and one of two teams perfect in the red zone (14 for 14).
Spokane is the only AFL team without a turnover. Erik Meyer is first in pass efficiency, completion percentage (76.3) and touchdown passes (15). Adron Tennell shares first with Chicago’s Reggie Gray with eight touchdowns.
The West Division holds down four of the top five spots in the weekly poll. Spokane (2-0) moved up two spots to No. 3. Defending champion and top-ranked Arizona (2-0) and No. 2 San Jose (2-0) square off Saturday. Arizona defeated last week’s No. 2, Utah, dropping the Blaze to No. 5. … Olson said the team came out of the Chicago game pretty healthy and he expects everyone to be available Friday. … Spokane’s home opener is Friday, April 12, against Arizona.