Now that the holidays are over, Adam Shackleford is ready to kick things into high gear.
The head coach of the Tri-Cities Fever has been busy trying to get his training camp roster filled out.
“But there is a lot more that goes into this than just recruiting,” Shackleford cautioned. “I’m working with our sponsors, trying to get the player housing set, and setting up our players’ meals.”
Over the last few months, Shackleford has driven down from his Spokane Valley home to the Tri-Cities each week for a day and works on those things before heading home to his wife and children.
Now, while he still comes down once a week, he’ll stay a few days at a time instead of a day.
And he’s still working on that camp roster.
“We’re still trying to sign five or six key guys,” he said. “We’ll get probably one or two more veterans back, maybe three. That would put us around 13, which is the most I’ve ever had.”
Because of that, Shackleford won’t bring more than 32 players when camp opens Feb. 9 with the first practice as the team prepares for the Feb. 28 home opener against the Wyoming Cavalry.
Normally, Shackleford might have 40 players in camp.
One thing he will get is some time in the Toyota Center.
“Actually we’ll be in there about eight or nine days,” said Shackleford. “So we’re going to have two-a-days.”
Once again, Cleveland Pratt will be Shackleford’s only assistant coach.
Among those veterans back are the two quarterbacks who finished the 2013 season with the Fever in Dante Warren and Andre Broaddus.
Veterans such as RB Keithon Fleming, WR Dejuan Miller, WR Ed Berry, DB Dennis Rogan, LB Boris Lee, DL Brandon Rankin, K Brady Beeson, LB Brandon Wilson and WR Jackie Chambers have signed with the team over the last few months
And DL Pablo Garcia is back with the team. He was in training camp last year when he tore a triceps muscle and never played a down with the team.
Shackleford also mentioned that defensive back Dustin Bell, who played for the Fever in its 2011 season, has signed. Bell played in the AFL the past two seasons.
Those who have yet to sign with the team include DB Lionell Singleton (“We haven’t talked,” said Shackleford); RB Keola Antolin; DB Rudell Crim; OL Trevon Williams; and WR Tre Young.
But the Fever has signed some talented free agents over the last few months.They include linebacker E.J. Nduka, a 6-5, 260-pounder, played for the Toronto Argonauts in the Canadian Football League last year.
Shackleford also signed two-way lineman Sean McDonald (6-2, 310) out of Humboldt State. A guy like McDonald can provide the Fever some depth by playing both offense and defense.
Ex-Washington Husky Quenton Richardson, a defensive back, has signed with the Fever too.
Around the IFL
Here’s a quick look at the other IFL teams and what’s going on:
w Bemidji Axemen head coach Robert Fuller has been building a strong roster for the expansion franchise. Fuller recently signed defensive back Khalid Harris, who played for Wyoming last season. He’s also added former EWU quarterback Kyle Padron and former Wyoming receiver Maurice Patterson. Finally, Fuller cut a deal with his old team, the Green Bay Blizzard, to acquire All-IFL receiver Ryan Ballentine for future considerations.
w Cedar Rapids Titans all-league running back LaRon Council has already re-signed with the team, as has all-league wide receiver Brian Pray. ... Head coach Mark Stoute signed a two-year contract extension. Stoute was also the team’s defensive coordinator last season but is moving over to offensive coordinator. Taking over at DC will be Ameer Ismail, a standout linebacker in the IFL the past few seasons who also played once with the Fever. ... Former Green Bay Blizzard QB Spencer Ohm signed with the Titans.
w Colorado Ice head coach Heron O’Neal returns for another season.
w Green Bay Blizzard has a new ownership group. ... Chad Baldwin, who took over in mid-season last year for Fuller, will return this season as the head coach. ... RB Lucien Walker re-signed with the team.
w Nebraska Danger is loaded with veteran talent. All-IFL wide receiver Kayne Farquharson is back with the Danger. ... Other veterans also returning include OL Darius Savage, OL D’Angelo McCray, DL Adrian Davis, DB Darnell Terrell and K Joe Houston. ... RB Mon Williams, who spent time last season with the Texas Revolution, signed with the Danger. ... Head coach Mike Davis added QB Cody Kirby to the roster. Kirby was the IFL Rookie of the Year in 2013 as the Chicago Slaughter’s quarterback. ... Troy Evans, a standout receiver for Wyoming last season, signed with the Danger.
w The Sioux Falls Storm is rebuilding its powerhouse again. Shackleford said that standout quarterback Chris Dixon, who spent last season with Orlando in the Arena Football League, is back with the Storm. ... The Storm also re-signed quarterback Martevious Young and running back Tory Harrison. ... The 2013 IFL Defensive Player of the Year, linebacker Tyler Knight, also returns. Also back: DL Cory Johnson and OL Charlie Sanders.
w Texas Revolution signed a new head coach in Chris Williams. He coached against the Fever with the Odessa (and West Texas) Roughnecks, and the New Mexico Stars in 2012. ... All-IFL standout Frankie Solomon Jr. returns for the Revolution as a return man and defensive back. ... Former IFL standout Josh Floyd, a QB and WR, comes over to Texas with Coach Williams.
w Wyoming Cavalry head coach Ryan Lingenfelder has signed former Eastern Oregon QB Chris Ware.
A group is looking to bring in an expansion team to Billings, Mont., for the 2015 season. ... The Chicago Slaughter left the league last fall for the Continental Indoor Football League.