Adam Shackleford knows he’s in a tough position.
The Tri-Cities Fever head coach has a 1-4 team which is injury riddled and can’t get anything consistent going on offense.
So to that end, Shackleford decided to release starting quarterback Kasey Peters this week, elevate backup Dante Warren to starter, and signed Theo Scott.
Scott played at Ohio University and was with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League before being recently released.
“Dante will start this week against Sioux Falls, and then Dante and Theo will battle for the starting spot the following week,” said Shackleford.
At 1-4, Shackleford can’t afford to be patient anymore. And that’s why he decided to cut Peters.
“He missed some absolutely wide-open receivers against Wyoming,” said Shackleford. “He missed some reads. In the end, I have to be held accountable. I have to protect the business first.”
To that end, he needs to know where his players’ health is leading up to Friday’s game.
“It’s kind of like that Monty Python movie, you know where they’re saying ‘Bring out yer dead!’” Shackleford said.
The team’s top receiver, Steven Whitehead, didn’t even make the trip to Wyoming last week because of an injured knee.
Running back Keola Antolin, who played so well in the season opener March 1 but broke his hand during the game, was activated last week but played very little.
Rookie receiver DeJuan Miller, a standout in training camp but who broke a bone in his foot before the opener, may be activated in time for Friday’s game against Sioux Falls.
Ah yes, Sioux Falls.
This Friday’s 7:05 p.m. contest against the Storm is a rematch between the two teams who have met in the last two United Bowl Indoor Football League championship games — both of which were won by Sioux Falls.
But this matchup is different.
The Storm has struggled out of the game with a 3-2 record, with long-time quarterback Chris Dixon now in the Arena Football League.
The Fever has struggled even worse, with the 1-4 record.
Storm coach Kurtiss Riggs hadn’t been able to find consistency at QB since Dixon left. So he coaxed Terrance Bryant out of retirement to lead the team at QB.
Bryant hadn’t played since leading Sioux Falls into the league title game in 2010. But he’s lived in Sioux Falls since then, working for Pepsi Cola.
On Sunday, Bryant — a 36-year-old left-hander from Oregon State — was 9-for-15 for 107 yards passing and four touchdown passes with no interceptions, as the Storm defeated the visiting Green Bay Blizzard 48-29.
“They beat a pretty good, improving Green Bay team,” said Shackleford. “My guess is (Bryant) is no Chris Dixon. But we’re going to respect him like a guy who has won before.”
But one thing Sioux Falls does have is the same players on the offensive and defensive lines.
Gerald Davis, Charlie Sanders and Myniya Smith have been together on the O-line since their days in Billings four seasons ago. Rachman Crable, Cory Johnsen and Jeremiah Price are still the starters on the D-line — like they have been for the past few seasons.
Regardless, Shackleford has to come up with a plan to win starting now, and he knows it.
“We can’t afford anymore losses,” he said. “A couple more, and we won’t make the playoffs.”