There is no such thing as a cupcake on a 2-5 football team’s schedule.
Spokane is in a four-game stretch where it faces San Jose twice – the first meeting didn’t go so well as the SaberCats administered an 83-28 defeat a week ago – and next week’s visit by Arizona.
Between those dates with National Conference powers is today’s matchup at Las Vegas. Call it an opportunity.
“We need confidence,” Shock coach Andy Olson said. “We need a good, solid win over Las Vegas because we’ve got Arizona and San Jose back-to-back. We don’t want to get into any more of a hole than we are in.”
The Shock studied video of last week’s 55-point loss, the most lopsided in franchise history, but mostly they’ve tried to flush the memory.
“It’s a mistake in your life you don’t ever want to remember,” Olson said.
Or reproduce. The Outlaws (3-4) don’t have San Jose’s firepower but they toppled winless L.A. twice and upset Arizona with the help of a couple of game-changing special teams plays. Las Vegas also was drilled by San Jose by 18 and 33 points, by Jacksonville by 32 and by Arizona by 18 in the rematch.
J.J. Raterink, who was briefly in Shock training camp in their inaugural 2006 season, has been steady with 29 touchdown passes and just four interceptions. Still, Las Vegas averages just 45.6 points per game, 10th in the Arena Football League.
Spokane scored just four touchdowns a week ago and allowed 83 points, second only to Utah’s 84 in 2012 in team history. Quarterback Warren Smith, solid in a win over L.A. but intercepted four times by San Jose, is expected to make his third start. Spokane is without standout receiver Mike Washington, who had season-ending surgery to repair his Achilles tendon.
Olson said his receivers won’t have as much speed, so he hopes the offense can control the ball and “just work down the field.”
“We’re going to keep it simple,” Smith said. “We need to be good at a few things, master them, and go from there.”
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