Fever hopes to shake slow start

By Jeff Morrow, Herald sports editorMarch 26, 2013 

If not for seven points, the Tri-Cities Fever might be looking at being 3-0 heading into this Friday’s 7:05 p.m. home game against the Texas Revolution.

Instead, the Fever is 1-2 in Indoor Football League play, thanks to a 42-38 road loss at Colorado on March 1, and a 40-37 loss at Texas last Friday.

In the loss at Texas, Tri-Cities dug itself a 17-1 hole by intermission, thanks to a struggling offense. The Fever offensive unit had a missed field goal, a pass intercepted, two balls fumbled away, and two turnovers on downs.

“I didn’t like our execution on offense,” said Fever coach Adam Shackleford. “But it’s not just our quarterback (Kasey Peters). We’ve got banged up receivers who are not practicing all week, then we try to patch them up on game day.”

Shackleford said it’s a lot to expect Peters and some of those receivers to be on the same page come game day if they don’t get to practice together during the week.

Still, it wasn’t just the offense that struggled last Friday.

“We had a miscommunication in the secondary that cost us a touchdown,” Shackleford said. “On a kickoff return, we gave up a touchdown.”

Still, it wasn’t all bad.

“We didn’t quit,” he said. “All the way to the end there was effort. It was just a matter of simple execution.”

Shackleford praised the offensive line for its play for the third consecutive game. But a number of the skill-position players had rough outings.

“In the end, it’s still 10 or 11 plays that make the difference,” he said. “We’ll have a streak of good plays, then struggle. I don’t want to discredit what Texas did, but we made a lot of mistakes.”

Which is befuddling to Shackleford.

“If we had won the other night, I wouldn’t have feel as sick as I did,” he said. “But I wouldn’t feel a lot better. We have a good enough team to beat anybody in the league.”

In the end, getting to the postseason – finishing in the top two spots of the Intense Conference – is the bottom line.

“That’s our goal,” Shackleford said. “We’re not hitting the panic button.”

So it starts Friday with the rematch against Texas.

“We either show up and respond, or we get our butts kicked,” he said. “If we get to 2-2, all of a sudden things are better.”

While Peters had a rough first half Friday, he did bounce back with four TD passes in the second half. … Dennis Rogan had a strong game for the Fever, returning nine kicks – including three missed field goal returns – for 198 yards. Two of them were for 40 and 44 yards. … Texas QB Marcus Jackson had 120 yards passing and three TD passes, and 42 more yards of rushing. … Revs kicker Brett Peddicord was a busy man last Friday, making four of seven field-goal attempts. … The Fevver must find a way to neutralize Texas LB A.J. Nicholson, who had a monster game against Tri-Cities last week with 12 tackles (two for loss), one fumble recovery, one forced fumble, a pass breakup and an interception.

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