KENNEWICK -- When you're the coach of the only team outside the contiguous 48 states in the Indoor Football League, you have to prepare for a lot of extra things.
Such as packing enough clothes for a two-week road trip. Or finding places to practice.
Such is the life for Robert Fuller, the head coach of the Fairbanks Grizzlies, who visit the Tri-Cities Fever at 7:05 p.m. today in the Toyota Center.
"There are certainly unique challenges to the job," said Fuller. "But you can use them as excuses, or you can just work through that."
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The Grizzlies (0-2) flew down to Seattle last Friday and played in Kent, where they lost to the Predators 56-41 on Sunday.
The team then spent most of the week in Kent, working out in an indoor practice facility before busing to the Tri-Cities on Thursday.
After tonight's game, the Grizzlies will fly back to Fairbanks.
The team will have another two-game road trip, and a three-game set to finish the regular season.
"If I had a background coaching hockey or baseball, I'd have experienced something like this," Fuller said. "But we're just learning as we go. The good thing is that it allows us to prepare better because we're together a lot. I'm not sure the players like it so much, but It's helped from a coaching standpoint."
Fever coach Adam Shackleford has seen the film of the Grizzlies, and even though they're 0-2, he's impressed.
"Fairbanks is probably better than their record indicates," Shackleford said. "They hustle, they know how to get the ball to their playmakers."
And Fuller does have four players who played in Fairbanks last season -- WR Eric Taylor, DB Noah Harris, DL Carl Singleton and LB Devin Robinson.
Fever quarterback Houston Lillard said the Grizzlies defense will present some challenges.
"They don't get too much pressure on the quarterback because they sit back and wait for you to make a move," Lillard said. "So we'll have to take what they give us, nickel-and-dime them."
The Fever (1-1) is coming off last Saturday's 59-52 loss at Wenatchee. But Fuller sees it as just a bump in the road for Tri-Cities.
"My preseason prediction was that the Fever would be the top team in our division, and one of the top teams in the league," Fuller said. "That doesn't change with the loss last week."
NOTES: Fuller said that tonight's game will be tougher for his team because there will be more fans in the building. The Grizzlies seemed to have more people in the Showare Center than the Predators did, he said. That won't happen tonight. ... Lillard ranks third in the league with 216.5 yards per game passing yards, but he's tops with 10 TD passes. ... WR Tre Young leads the Fever with 14 catches for 210 yards and seven TDs.