KENNEWICK -- When the Tri-Cities Fever takes on the Kent Predators at 3 p.m. today at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Fever coach Adam Shackleford hopes he's taken care of his two biggest concerns.
Those would be getting Fever quarterback Andy Collins enough time to pass the ball, and stopping Predators quarterback Charles McCullum -- who was a one-man wrecking crew March 27 when Kent beat the Fever 55-49 at the Toyota Center.
"Those are the two looming questions," Shackleford admitted. "I hope we've made enough changes to fix those problems."
The protection for Collins was addressed last week, when Jason Donnal was signed to man one side of the offensive line. Donnal combined with Donald Fondren and center Kenny Ackerman to surrender just one sack against Fairbanks last week.
Compare that to Kent sacking Collins nine times in the first game.
Meanwhile, McCullum had a breakout game against the Fever, rushing for 124 yards and passing for 164 more. He rushed for three touchdowns and passed for four in the win -- not bad for a guy who wasn't even in football a year ago.
But today, Shackleford activated linebackers Chris Hunsaker and Ameer Ismail -- both signed in the last 10 days.
"Hunsaker is just a pure linebacker, old-school style," Shackleford said. "He has great instincts. Ismail is a guy who can play linebacker and put his hand down and rush the passer. He's just a guy always around the football."
Which is good, because Shackleford expects Kent to run the football. And the Predators should do it legally.
After their win over Tri-Cities, the IFL determined their offensive formation was illegal.
"It was illegal 48 out of 62 plays," said Shackleford.
Shackleford also activated wide receiver Joey Hew Len, who was signed last week.
"He is a guy who is going to be our fourth receiver," Shackleford said. "He's got great height (6-foot-4) and can catch the ball well. We're going to get him the ball at some point (today)."