It’s hard to come to a team midway through the season and mesh into the squad.
But wide receiver Tre Young has done that quite well for the Tri-Cities Fever this year. A starter on last season’s team, Young started this year in the Arena Football League at Jacksonville. But he was banged up a bit and never really got a chance to play there, and he was released.
He came back to the Fever when it was 4-0, and he assimilated himself into the lineup, where he’s one of Houston Lillard’s main targets.
“It’s like riding a bike,” said Young, who in five games has 33 catches for 453 yards and eight touchdowns.
His 90.6 yards receiving per game is ranked No. 1 in the Indoor Football League.
“It’s just about trying to get that rhythm back,” Young said. “I’m just trying to get things back to where they were last year.”
Young says one of the biggest reasons the offensive unit, averaging 57.1 points a game, moves the ball so well is because of Fever quarterback Houston Lillard.
“Houston is in a pretty tough situation,” Young said. “It’s hard to try to get everybody the ball when they want the ball. But Coach (Adam Shackleford) calls the plays, and for Houston it’s pretty much a progression. I think he does a great job of distributing the ball to the receivers.”
Young has been more interested in winning than stats.
At 9-0, the Fever heads into Sioux Falls (8-0) on Saturday for a rematch of last season’s championship game. Kickoff is at 5:05 p.m.
“I didn’t come into this with a whole lot of stats thing,” Young said. “I feel like I’m where I need to be. As an offensive unit I think things are going pretty good.”
Fever coach Adam Shackleford likes what he sees in Young.
“He’s got a positive attitude, and he’s the kind of guy who likes to joke around but when it’s time to get serious, he does,” said Shackleford. “He plays the game like he loves it. He’s a playmaker.”
Young has said if he doesn’t get a shot with an NFL after this season, it’s time to hang his cleats up.
But Shackleford believes he should be playing at a higher level already.
“I think he could play in the CFL right now,” Shackleford said. “I watch AFL teams all of the time and they don’t have the talent we have at receiver. In my opinion, this is the only league that’s not a stale league. We always have fresh talent coming up. Guys like Tre deserve a shot to move up.”
Young has his eyes on Sioux Falls right now, rather than the CFL or AFL.
“We’re gonna go there and expect to win the game,” he said. “Now, it doesn’t mean a lot. It’s just a measuring stick to see how good we are, and how good they are. We want to be first in our division come playoff time.”
w Saturday’s game could mean the difference in who gets to play host to theleague championship, provided both teams make it that far.If the season ended today, the Fever would be the No. 1 seed in the Intense Conference, and would open the playoffs at home (Friday, June 22) against No. 4 seed Nebraska (4-5). The other Intense Conference game would be pit No. 3 Colorado (5-4) at No. 2 Allen (6-3).In the United Conference, the seeds right now are Sioux Falls at No. 1, Green Bay (7-2) at No. 2, Bloomington (7-3) at No. 3, and Lehigh Valley (4-5) at No. 4.