Danny Southwick in, Jarrett Brown and Matt Bassuener out.
Spokane’s newest quarterback is the well-traveled Southwick, who was released a couple of weeks ago by the Portland Thunder, which entertains the Shock on Thursday. He’ll get the start against his former employer.
Southwick passed for 2,040 yards and 38 touchdowns with 17 interceptions last season with the Thunder. The Occidental College product has also played for Chicago, Cleveland, San Jose and Tampa Bay.
Spokane made a run at Southwick after starter Carson Coffman was injured in the season opener but the 33-year-old wasn’t able to commit, mainly because his pregnant wife is past her due date with the couple’s first child. Southwick also works for a digital media company in Los Angeles and he’s finishing up two graduate-school programs.
“I need 48 hours in a day,” Southwick said. “I literally wasn’t sure I was going to come here until Monday. We went to the doctor and he said I’m probably OK. It’s basically a 24-hour trip, two practices and I’m going back to Portland (to be with his wife later Tuesday) and meeting the team there.”
Southwick arrived mid-morning Monday and the Shock moved practice back so he could participate. He handled virtually all the snaps Tuesday. The Shock will bus to Portland on Wednesday.
“I’ve played against him, seen him play, watched his film,” said Shock coach Andy Olson, who promised changes after Brown and Bassuener combined to go 10 of 25 with two interceptions in Saturday’s loss to Philadelphia. “I know he’s capable, I know he can play this game at a higher level than what I’ve seen the last couple weeks.
“He was very consistent (Tuesday) and understands the game, that’s the most important thing. We need to be able to move the ball, complete passes. Nobody is going win a game with 10 completions.”
Southwick and Coffman were teammates in Chicago in 2013 for about two months. Southwick isn’t related to former Boise State quarterback Joe Southwick, who was with the Shock late in the 2014 season.
Warren Smith, who is on the mend from injury, will be Southwick’s backup but Olson said he has “zero” intention of playing Smith. Bassuener was released.
“I was really hoping Jarrett could play consistently,” Olson said. “He did OK, his legs were a little more effective than his arm and that just doesn’t last. The fourth quarter was brutal. (Bassuener) couldn’t see the field, couldn’t make the reads. I know he was upset and wanted another opportunity. We just don’t have time for it.”
Spokane (0-2) has scored 43 points in both of its games. Only the L.A. Kiss, at 32.5 points, has scored fewer points in the 12-team league. Spokane is last in pass offense (179.5 yards), completions (29), touchdown passes (6) and pass efficiency (73.9)
“Playing for three-plus years you kind of start to get to know the ins and outs of where to throw the ball,” Southwick said. “Most teams have very similar plays and it’s just a matter of learning terminology.”
Southwick said he doesn’t have any extra motivation facing his former team Thursday.
“I have a good relationship with the owner, coach (Mike) Hohensee treated me well and I’m friends with a lot of players there,” Southwick said. “I think it comes down to going where I have an opportunity to play and thankfully a spot opened up.”
Spokane unveiled new artificial turf for its home opener.
“The new turf was definitely softer,” veteran offensive lineman Patrick Afif said. “You could definitely feel the cushion underneath.”
The turf was purchased from the defunct San Antonio franchise. Players noticed a difference from the turf used in recent seasons.
“I thought it looked better, there’s not as much tape on it,” Olson said. “We’re glad to have a new field.”
The end zones, which have several noticeable bumpy spots, remain the same.
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