The Tri-Cities Fever has not one, but two schedule abnormalities this season when it plays an Indoor Football League opponent back-to-back in consecutive weeks.
The first begins today when Tri-Cities visits the Texas Revolution in Allen, Texas.
Kickoff is at 5 p.m.
The two teams then meet in the Toyota Center next Friday, March 29, at 7:05 p.m.
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For Fever coach Adam Shackleford, that means he doesn’t want to show the Revolution everything in tonight’s game.
“We need to make things look different,” Shackleford said. “We put in some new things (offensively) that we’re gonna utilize.”
For Revolution coach Billy Back, whose team is off to an 0-2 start, it’s a different story. He doesn’t care about overplaying his hand.
“We gotta get a W,” said Back. “We’ve got to do everything we can to get a win.”
Back knows Shackleford, and he’s impressed with what he’s done.
“There is no weakness in Tri-Cities,” said Back. “Shack’s got the guys in there he wants. I find a player on Facebook and friend them. But I can’t friend them before Shack. He’s already in there. He’s a recruting guru. It’s like I’m the Karate Kid fighting Mr. Miyagi. The Karate Kid can’t win.”
Wax on, wax off, Mr. Shackleford.
The Fever coach said his team needs to get pressure on Texas quarterback Marcus Jackson, who played college ball at TCU.
“I think we have to force them to throw the football,” said Shackleford. “Jackson needs to show the ability to throw the football. He’s thrown seven interceptions in two games. With him, we have to take away the run to make it tougher.”
To that effect, Back has brought in a totally new offensive line this week to protect Jackson.
“It’s a changing of the guard,” said Back. “We signed four offensive linemen who just got cut from the AFL. We’ve had some good practices.”
Back is also concerned about Fever running back Keithon Flemming, who used to play in Allen when they were know the last two seasons as the Allen Wranglers.
“If our guys can’t contain Keithon, we’re in trouble,” said Back. “We tried to get him to sign with us.”
The biggest matchup, though, will be the line play.
“If we can’t get to their quarterback (Kasey Peters) then their guys will get open,” said Back.
Shackleford also sees this being a possible trap game, in which his team might come in taking the Revs lightly after a big win over Nebraska last week.
“I kind of see this game as us playing the other role,” he said. “We’re the Nebraska team coming off a big win last week.”
He doesn’t want that to happen.
“This is gonna be their first home game too,” he said. “So they’ll have a big crowd there.”