Practice was winding down Wednesday for the majority of Spokane Shock players, who moved to the west end of the Arena for some light conditioning drills.
At the east end, three Arena Football League rookie quarterbacks clad in orange “no-contact” jerseys continued auditions in front of head coach Andy Olson, who ran some routes to give two receivers a breather from their heavy workload. Next up was an afternoon film session and another lengthy practice Thursday as the Shock tries to identify Erik Meyer’s replacement before Friday’s game against Pittsburgh.
Former Eastern Washington Eagle Kyle Padron, Donovan Porterie and Dennis Havrilla handled practice reps. About four hours later, Spokane officially signed Porterie and Havrilla.
“I like that they both have indoor experience and they both have played in the IFL (Indoor Football League),” Olson said.
Olson hasn’t ruled out signing a veteran quarterback, but there are few options. The coach also would consider trades, but western teams have little or no interest in dealing with a rival.
Meyer, who had surgery Tuesday on his broken collarbone, was placed on injured reserve. He’ll probably miss at least six weeks. Backup quarterback Jarrett Brown went on IR last week. AFL rules permit one player to be activated from IR and the Shock are optimistic Meyer will return for the stretch drive.
Havrilla spent some time with the Shock in training camp. He played at Nebraska-Kearney before finishing up at Western New Mexico in 2009. He appeared in one game this season with Dodge City of the Champions Professional Indoor Football League, going 7 of 25 with two interceptions.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Havrilla also spent time with Arizona and Bricktown of the IFL.
Porterie, 6-4 and 220, passed for 6,756 yards and 33 touchdowns in four seasons at New Mexico. He played in the IFL for Green Bay, passing for 1,990 yards and 44 touchdowns in 2012. Olson said Porterie was in training camp with the Pittsburgh Power.
“We’re just trying to make these quarterbacks comfortable and it’s me adjusting to them, coaching as much as I can in 72 hours obviously to get these guys ready to play (Friday),” Olson said.
“We’ve had quarterbacks go down before,” Olson said. “In 2011 I think I had five different ones, but every one of them had played before. We’ve never had a rookie quarterback coached up in three days and expected to play a game. It is what it is.”
It’s not an easy task for experienced or rookie quarterbacks. The L.A. Kiss, with veteran quarterback J.J. Raterink and capable receivers, scored just two offensive touchdowns against Spokane on Sunday.
“It’s going to be tough,” Shock receiver Adron Tennell said, “but as long as he gets the ball around us we’ll be able to catch it and make some plays. We’re getting it together and we’ll have some fun Friday.”
Rashaad Carter, who filled in for Meyer on Sunday, is back at his natural position of wide receiver. He showed great poise against the Kiss, running for four touchdowns and passing for two TDs, despite taking only a couple of practice snaps in the days leading up to the game.
“There were butterflies from the point where (Olson) gave me the play until I got into the huddle,” Carter said. “When I got to the huddle my teammates were looking at me so I knew they believed in me and my nervousness just went away.”
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