KENNEWICK -- Tri-Cities Fever quarterback Houston Lillard considers last Saturday night's 59-52 loss on the road to Wenatchee Valley a learning experience.
As in maybe the Fever took the Venom a little too lightly, espcially after easily beating the Venom 53-14 last month in an exhibition game.
"I think we did a lot things out of character," Lillard said. "And I think (the exhibition win) could be part of it. It's just all about learning."
It's easy to forget that while many in the Indoor Football League see the Fever as one of the top teams in the league, there isn't much indoor football experience on the team's roster.
"There's not a lot of us who have it," agreed Lillard. "People like myself and others try to give the guys as much knowledge as we can. We're trying to just be better prepared."
Fever coach Adam Shackleford called it a learning experience.
"We turned the ball over five times and lost by seven points," he said. "That's the story. But we feel we've got the right people here. We learned from it. Now we'll try to build on it."
Just in time for Saturday's home game at the Toyota Center against the Fairbanks Grizzlies. Kickoff is at 7:05 p.m.
Both Lillard and Shackleford let the loss go about Monday and started looking at the Grizzlies.
"It's cool," said Lillard. "We're past (the loss). We're ready to move forward. We'll use it as an example on how not to approach a game."
-- Three things Shackleford didn't like from Saturday's contest:
1. "I don't think we handled the crowd well," he said.
2. "I don't think we handled coming from behind well," he said. "I felt I had to tell some guys to keep their composure."
"I don't like turning the ball over," Shackleford said. "The two previous outings (including the exhibition win) we were plus 7. We were minus 3 at Wenatchee."
Three things he liked?
"I'm not sure there were three things I liked," he said. Then he thought for a second.
1. "I like the fact we didn't quit," Shackleford said. "We still fought hard when things weren't going our way."
2. Tre Young (more on him later).
3. Fever kicker Gary Cismesia.
"I liked how our kicker can be consistent," said Shackleford. "He is 15-for-15 in PATs. That's hard. He is so consistent. He's gonna be a weapon for us this season."
* Young was named the IFL's offensive player of the week after he caught eight passes for 145 yards and four touchdowns in the loss.
"He had a breakout game," said Shackleford. "He's tall. He's fast, he catches the ball. He's got long arms. I can't believe the AFL didn't find him before we did. He's a guy who could move up some time this season."
Although it won't be the AFL, which doesn't allow a player in its league after they've play a game in the IFL -- at least for this season.
"What I like best about him is his attitude," Shackleford said. "He had a great game and he said 'Coach, it doesn't matter. We didn't win the game.'"
Lillard loves throwing to Young.
"I threw him a couple hitches, and he turned around and turned them into 40-yard touchdown plays," Lillard said.