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8:46 PM - May 15, 2012 #31

SAN FRANCISCO THUNDER SHARKS

Ah, the fun is back. The OIFL is better with the Hooligans seeing eight home games, though they might not be happy with the eight games they get to see this year. San Francisco is back after a multi-year hiatus, but given the team's history in San Francisco (42-54 in six seasons), we're not talking about greatness here. Two playoff berths (2009, 2002 in New Jersey) in eight total seasons for Tim Campbell indicates...things didn't always go so well. Tim left the OIFL as its losingest franchise with those 69 total losses. Thanks to Charlie's return (1-15 and 8-8) that's changed, but it could be a long year in San Francisco.

But the Hooligans are back. So that's good.

Jack Morgart was brought back to San Fran because, well, he's by far the best quarterback they've ever had. He has more TDs (141) than anyone else (Scott Johnson has 137). He has more picks than anyone but Cameron o'Shea, but with his style you get that. His 8,480 yards in a Sharks uni is more than anyone. Part of the team's historical problem? They never got good players. Finally, Dan Kimbar got drafted and was a hit (181 catches in two years), but in eight seasons their top pass catcher was only Bob Speedfreak's 190 (Kimbar is second). Such illuminaries as Justin Stochmal, Bert Thrash, Steven Oyakawa, Matt Ashe, James d'Amico, Jack WIlson, and Daryl Ferguson round out their top ten (Dave Carr, #7, is at least a household name somewhere).

OK, back to this year. Sharks fans are used to crappy football. Good, they've got a shot at it. Morgart, after a mess of a stint in San Antonio, gets to throw to approximately nothing, though the team is high on second year OS Jake Tyseling. James Tate will be a RB/WR hybrid, while Trinton Stallworth likely starts at the running back slot - he's the rare power back who can't play linebacker. Jason Leod and either Tate or J.S. Carper will start at receiver alongside Tyseling, with the depth indicating that the starters will play a lot. Antonio Fernandez and Jason Rich aren't terrible, but they scare no one. Shannon Ross might actually start at OS ahead of Tyseling, though they'll give the young guy plenty of work.

The line has no depth, and the starters are merely average. Jason Baez leads the group with Emory Chappelle and Horace Green alongside him. Chris May and Tyrone Bynum are the top backups, but there's not much help there. San Fran will be watching the waiver wire.

Defensively, we should just move on the schedule portion here. Carper will start either at WRDB or at DS because he's easily the team's best cover guy. Mark Crawn and Elvin Putts bring something to the table as young DS guys, but they're both way too slow. T.G. Lee will start at DS, and Senon Garz will be given every shot to do something. Stallworth is a solid cover guy, but the force of using Leod and any of the backups at much defensively is going to be a chore. Tate will play a bunch because he might be the team's best linebacker. This defense just isn't going to be very good.

The schedule...similarly not all that nice. It's never fun to be in a division with Tucson, Venice, and Los Angeles. In addition, the Sharks get to travel to Detroit, Minneapolis, North Dakota, Kansas City, and Chicago...for a bad team that's got an amazing home atmosphere, it sucks that almost every "easy" game is on the road. The lone respite is against Dallas, given Cedar Rapids, Evansville, Fort Dodge, and Wisconsin all come to San Francisco. Generally you'd figure San Fran would pop one team they shouldn't; it'll be hard to find many wins there.

Give Tim a lot of credit; he didn't overpay for much marginal talent (oh, there's some, Chappelle and Glenn Jones qualify, and Shannon Ross is no 82K man, but at least he's a legitimate starter). The team is not financially crippled for the future. It's going to be an ugly year, no doubt about it. They know it, the fans know it, but they're just glad to be back in the OIFL. It'll be time to see what guys can bring to the table for San Fran's future. Morgart isn't going anywhere, but you can bet if someone's willing to deal picks and young stuff for a Carper or Baez, San Fran's going to do it. Not like they're bringing an OIFLCup to the Bay this year.
So this doesn't get updated often. I changed it 2/25/2018, and it said "who wins OIFLCup XI?" Tucson won OIFLCup XI, 58-55 over the Texas Terrors...in 2011...
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FightinSquirrels
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FightinSquirrels
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Joined: 1:51 AM - Aug 08, 2005

11:04 AM - May 16, 2012 #32

Commissioner wrote:EVANSVILLE FIGHTIN' SQUIRRELS

With most teams, there can be a range of expected and acceptable outcomes to a season. In Evansville, it's long been known the team only has one acceptable outcome. If they don't win the OIFLCup Championship, the past season was a failure. And while this team isn't as dominant as the 2010 Squirrels were (and they're not), an OIFLCup is never out of the question when you're talking about Evansville. They drafted well, they traded well, they signed guys in free agency well, and they, while expensive, have never outspent their means. "Oh, guys are getting old?" Sure, might be a problem elsewhere, but Squirrels fans aren't worried. Nor should they be.

Riley Pennington, who is now 9-1 in his playoff career with more passing yards than all but six guys in the playoffs, returns to resume a career that's quickly becoming an automatic invitation to Brinkhaven upon retirement. Regular season stats will never be a major factor in Evansville, because they go 26 deep, and everyone will play. Marshall Raybold, Zidan Hoover, and (to a lesser extent) Lewis Vogel form a deadly three-headed running back tandem that is as good as any in the league. The receiving corps is killer as well, with J'Ron Perry, Chevron Gamal Rastafari, Michael Djordjevic, and youngsters Joe Farda and Asaad Moore helping rotate around Jay Yerkes, who's averaged 101 catches a year over the past three years. Yerkes will be dancing into the Hall of Fame someday, and this year will just cement that. Never mind the OS combo of Stanley Isaacs and Dion Sanders (who had such a camp that he's going to make the roster, where he was an almost sure cut beforehand), who will provide relief.

Evansville's current OLDL tandem goes eight deep, with any three of the eight able to start on most teams. King James Boston hopes to continue a career that hasn't been as "Boddy-like" as had been hoped when he was drafted, but he's been very strong for the Squirrels. Jonas Wile, Leonard Zadovsky, Stephen Fox, Pat Rogers, Fidelis Ziemann, Tyler Heyl (who has not aged well)...a strong line for the Squirrels, and it makes everyone's job easier.

The Evansville defense will again be pretty strong. Rastafari may have found his sweet spot now here in Evansville, and he may still be a backup. Yerkes doesn't have numbers because no one throws to him...that's why Theo Kiwi (possibly a top-5 DB right now) gets them...because they do throw to him. Perry, Vogel, and Jerold Hayhurst will also cause headaches for opposing offenses, not to mention having Boston (38 sacks last three years) there to make just that much more noise. Maybe not the best defense in the OIFL, but they're pretty strong.

Oh yeah, Olin Cringle has 195 more points kicking in the regular season than any other player. So if the offense does sputter, they're getting a guy who hits on 59% of his field goals. Cringle also has 42 more points kicking than anyone in OIFLCup Playoffs history.

Squirrels head coach Eric Geno, who has four rings (two with the Detroit Gargoyles), knows what it takes to win. "Everyone can say nice things about us. Everyone can say how we're guaranteed ever...there's no guarantees. We screw up once in the playoffs, we're done. We did it against St. Louis last year. There's no margin for error, and these guys know it."

While Evansville will be favored more often than not, the schedule isn't exactly easy. Wisconsin and Detroit still live in their division, and they get to travel to Corpus Christi, Fort McMurray, St. Louis, and Tucson. Texas and New England also come to town. They'll be well tested when the postseason comes.

Yes, you can mark it down. Evansville's a playoff team. Maybe even the top seed in the AFC again. There's not going to be some let down like the old Gargoyles after they got popped in the round of eight (2005, Cleveland Thunderbolts). "They ended my first dynasty in Detroit," said Geno (Evansville beat Detroit in the 2006 first round). "We won't have that happen again."
-I am not sure this isn't the deepest and possibly most talented Squirrels team ever.

-I think the league has caught up a bit and that leads to us not being quite as dominant.

-Injuries, especially Boston missing most of the season, played havoc last year.

-CGR had a monster camp and has become the 3rd dominant WR we haven't really had in a couple of years.
Sometimes you just gotta kick the cat and deal with what you get!

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Joined: 6:18 PM - Aug 03, 2005

1:40 PM - May 16, 2012 #33

ST. LOUIS RUSH

2011 was finally a breakthrough for the St. Louis Rush, as fans were treated to a team that pulled off a major playoff upset in Evansville before falling in a tight battle in the AFC Championship in Texas. Management expects bigger things this year from the team, as "well, we've tasted success now," noted Rush head coach Kelvin Anderson. The big question...can they do it?

David Greywacz was a breath of fresh air in 2011 for the Rush, as his 78 touchdown passes (with only five picks) tied for the OIFL lead. The offense is explosive as well, with MiQuale Lewis back to build on his 1,393 rushing yards (and 33 rushing touchdowns) from a year ago. The pass game is loaded with weapons, as Greywacz has Andre Murphy, Terry Eason, Jerry Bullock, Daryl Caruther, Tormarr Akeem Brumfield, Christopher Macrides, Dave Delaney, and even future hall-of-famer Bob Speedfreak (say what you want, but only three players have more playoff catches in their career than Speedfreak - Street, Doxen, Tuttle - Speedfreak is, though, tied at 75 catches with Rayshawn Dockett, John Alexander, and Jay Yerkes). Injuries on offense are no longer a concern in St. Louis; the team finally has real depth just about everywhere. Scott Kutz, Dominique d'Andrea, Mike Sumner can all play RB; the team's going to score points.

The line is very average defensively, but it does go about six deep. The offensive line will be one of the league's best, given Randy Coughenour, Ranando Bush, and Bruce Berman. Fringe HOFer Pepper Woods backs up with Roger Johnsen and Pumpkin Forest to bring a line that's not the league's worst, but isn't going to scare opposing quarterbacks. It's still better than in past years, where the Rush usually had three starters and a bunch of scrubs - Forest (and fellow rookie Randy Ball) need seasoning, but there's a future there.

As great as the offense is, the defensive line puts out a defense that has holes. JaMarcus Quinn can play DL from a DS spot, but that won't be done a whole lot (unless Bush can play LB, which actually is not out of the realm of reason). Scott Kutz is a pretty fair linebacker, while fellow DS Tawara Thigpen is hoping to have a career year. Murphy, Eason, and Brumfield will rotate most of the WRDB spots, while Bullock is the most likely starting linebacker, given his specific skill set (e.g., with Lewis starting at OS/RB, Bullock's 11.1 speed indicates he's going to play, and he's not a great cover guy). Anderson and his staff have options, but not all of them are great. It took St. Louis three seconds to jump all over Jon Hay when Tucson released him...make jokes if you want, but Hay quietly has had a pretty good career (32 interceptions) in his 11 OIFL seasons.

The money quote from Anderson: "We finally go 26 deep on our roster. Everyone here can play; that's why we're confident."

The schedule...well, I'm glad Anderson feels comfortable with his team's ability to go 26 deep. The Week 1 game in Texas is a killer, but that was going to happen. Evansville comes to St. Louis for last year's playoff payback, while Cedar Rapids, Wisconsin, and Fort Dodge also come to town. The Rush travel to Eugene, Detroit, and Kansas City. There are plenty of tough games, but this team might actually be built to handle them. Winning one of the road games of Texas or Corpus Christi is probably key to that; the division's going to be extremely tough.

This is the best team in Rush history. Just as last year was, this team has improved. So has the rest of the OIFL, but there's legitimate reason for the Rush to feel confident about their OIFLCup chances. Will they be favored to win the AFC? No. But there are some experts that have them favored to win the AFC South. They should expect to win a lot of games; the team's that good. But they better expect at least a couple of them to be of the 73-68 variety...
So this doesn't get updated often. I changed it 2/25/2018, and it said "who wins OIFLCup XI?" Tucson won OIFLCup XI, 58-55 over the Texas Terrors...in 2011...
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4:45 PM - May 16, 2012 #34

TAMPA BAY MARAUDERS

The Marauders have had about as much success as any team in the OIFL, at least in the regular season. Six seasons, all of them no worse than 12-4. But, the one trip to an OIFLCup Game (2007, loss to San Antonio) just isn't good enough for the Marauders anymore. The goal is to get some hardware, as rivals Tucson have now done twice. Is this team good enough? That's the question they'll have to answer. Nothing short of at the very least playing in the OIFLCup Game is good enough.

Montrel Dilworth returns for another campaign in Tampa, and the likely fastest quarterback in the OIFL is back to terrify opposing defenses once more. Dilworth by a long shot is Tampa Bay's top passer, and he's #3 on the team's all-time rushing list (behind current Marauders RB Korey Stanford and OS/RB Timmy North). Stanford, who appears to be in better shape after camp, looks to give Tampa a 1500-yard season. "If Korey can give us 1500 yards on top of what Montrel and our receivers can do," said Marauders head coach Steve Martin, "it really opens everything up for this team. We already know what Montrel can do, adding another all-star would be great." Tampa's receiving corps is strong and reasonably deep, but there's some concern having four OS on the roster (Matt Metchikoff, Timmy North, Brian Clothier Jr, and Hue Morrison) reduces depth elsewhere - and it probably does. Kevin Ludeman is the only backup two-way back on the roster, and Bobby Schauber, Charlie Antai, and rookie Tristian Coutch don't scare many people.

Metchikoff is the star receiver here, but there's a chance for him, Woody Krystle, and Dwight Raber to all get 80 catches. If either Krystle or Raber get hurt, though, the offense takes a major step back - Schauber is fine, but other backups just aren't good enough to be playing 60 snaps a game for a cup contender.

The line is one of the league's strongest, with Wilbert Atkinson, Louis Patel, and Antoine Calp leading an exceptional line that goes eight deep. No one individual lineman is going to get 25 sacks, but the Marauders expect this group to both keep Dilworth and Stanford safe, and to generate consistent pressure on whoever they face. And they will - as good as they all are, offenses won't be able to double any one of them, putting all three on single linemen to block. That'll be a key.

Why? The defense is not deep. It's simply not deep. Krystle is excellent, while DS combo Governor Gardner and Albert Larsen is as good as any 1-2 DS punch in the OIFL. But Stanford is a linebacker, as is Raber. Those three will HAVE to be a great three-DB combo, though Bobby Schauber is more than adequate as a DB (in fact, as the year goes on the Marauders might use Schauber as a starter to keep Raber's linebacking off the field; it's either Schauber or Kevin Ludeman that would have to play). There's no backup defense-only player, which might cause fatigue as starting two-way guys will be forced to stay longer (Ludeman, Schauber, Nash, and others will go from two-way to one-way). As deep as the line is, that's how tenuous the rest of the roster just might be.

The schedule was one Tampa Bay fans considered lucky to receive. Tampa opens up at D.C., and they also get to travel to Cedar Rapids, Eugene, and Washington. The Tucson game will be in Tampa on Week 13, and it could be the game to decide who hosts in the NFC Championship game (yes, other teams may have a say there, too). Other home games include Rocky Mountain and Fort McMurray - given Tampa's status as a division winner, the schedule isn't all that bad.

As noted, depth is a concern in places, but Tampa's not going to accept anything outside of, at the very least, a trip to the OIFLCup Game. It might be beneficial for them to use some of that depth on the line to bolster other more questionable spots, but with Dilworth quarterbacking...you know they're going to be good. The starters are about as good 1-11 as any other team in the OIFL, but it's spots 12-26 that worry Tampa Bay fans. It could be the difference between a 1 seed and a 6 seed, which is the difference between being favored to play in the OIFLCup game, and getting a trip to Iowa in the first round.
So this doesn't get updated often. I changed it 2/25/2018, and it said "who wins OIFLCup XI?" Tucson won OIFLCup XI, 58-55 over the Texas Terrors...in 2011...
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5:02 PM - May 16, 2012 #35

TEXAS TERRORS

Last year's AFC representative in the OIFLCup Game, the Texas Terrors come into 2012 hoping to build on that success, to finish the job and bring an OIFLCup to Austin. Certainly the team didn't lose a whole lot in the pieces that took them to an AFC title, but did they add enough in the wake of the OIFL's ever-strengthening?

James Law returns as the Terrors QB, and he's as good as any in the OIFL. In his Texas career, Law has 149 TD passes, 33 TD runs, and is the team's top passer (and their #2 runner, one of two Texas runners with at least 1,000 yards - guess the other one!) Law has been stellar in Texas, and one more step forward for the sixth year OIFLer might do the trick in bringing hope a cup. He's flanked in the backfield by all-OIFL RB Markelle Cox, who plays at a stellar level at virtually any position on the offensive side of the ball - he's taken snaps at every position but center and quarterback, and he can always play QB in a pinch. Cox is #1 in team history running (4,688 yards, ahead of #2 Law at 1,446), and is #3 in team history with 146 catches (behind Warren Kenneth and Eric Yates).

The team's success is tied down to the facts they draft well, they develop their talent, and they keep them. This is Texas' seventh year as an organization, the team's top four pass catchers in team history (Kenneth, Yates, Cox, and Martino Stotts) are all currently on the roster. Terrors head coach Don Carthel noted this as a key to their success. "We have good players and we keep them. Everyone here knows what we do, either because they've done it for four years, or they've been taught by guys who have done it for four years." Douglas Simpson might be the guy to finally supplant 11th year OS Warren Kenneth, but both will play. Depth is no concern in Texas, with Aaron Bellamy, Shaun Bollings, Michael Haas, and Markee Perry all more than capable of playing if any of the receivers get hurt. Ronnie Boston is a significant step back from Markelle Cox, but there aren't too many people not named Mo that wouldn't be.

OK - losing Cox would really hurt. He's the heart and soul of their team. But Law can run, and they can go four wide - it wouldn't kill their chances unless Cox missed the rest of the season with something.

The Terrors line is the best it's been, and it likewise goes eight deep. Leonard Schneider, Richard McDowell, and Bill Christoff will start - and while none of them are going to be first team all-OIFL, they don't need to be. Carthel's goal is to have no lineman take more than about 75 snaps, and with the eight they have (Junior Smith, Travis Jefferson, Micah Workman, Raymond Myatt, Sean Ness), they won't even have to play that many. A fresh lineman is going to be better than one that's not in the fourth quarter, where OIFL games are won.

Cox is a jack of all trades, and Texas has other guys that can step up defensively as well. The top sackmaster (probably Schneider) won't have more than 10-12 sacks this year, but pressure will come from everywhere. There are no superstar defenders, there's no Maugham or Beedell...but the Texas defensive backfield (Cox usually plays linebacker) goes approximately nine deep with starting-level guys. Fatigue will never be a concern, and they all can make plays. Willie Hill, Emerson Kalp, Yates and Stotts will line up as starting defensive backs, but any of the offensive backups can play DB without a whole lot of dropoff, and DS acquisition Ronald Cabell had what Carthel described as a "great" camp. Texas is the dictionary definition of "a team greater than the sum of its parts."

The schedule is one of the OIFL's toughest. The division gives Texas two with San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and St. Louis. In addition, Texas hosts Fort McMurray, Fort Dodge, Wisconsin, and Detroit. Even more fun, the Terrors get to travel to Kansas City, Cedar Rapids, New England, and Evansville. If they get a top seed in the AFC this year, they'll have earned it, no doubt about it.

"Well, we made the Cup last year, so if we fall back it's OK." Yeah, no one said that. Texas is a true contender, and with their age (13th oldest in the OIFL), they're not at the end of their run. Some individual players (Kenneth) are near the end of the line, but this team is still going to improve. They're already an excellent team, and they look to improve on that. Cox is, as he was last year, the key. Where he goes, the team goes. Likely, with how much tougher the rest of the OIFL is, he'll have to improve on his 1,213 rushing yards and 46 catches from a year ago, but part of that was the team not needing to rely on him. They know they'll need to more this year, and he'll deliver. Just how much he delivers, though, will determine how far Texas goes in 2012.
So this doesn't get updated often. I changed it 2/25/2018, and it said "who wins OIFLCup XI?" Tucson won OIFLCup XI, 58-55 over the Texas Terrors...in 2011...
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6:18 PM - May 16, 2012 #36

TUCSON SCORPIONS

As Evansville did learn in 2011, the job of repeating as OIFLCup Champions is not terribly easy. Tucson hopes they don't have to learn that lesson just yet, and certainly it'll prove hard to count the two-time OIFLCup Champion Scorpions out. It's very fair to consider Tucson the favorites to repeat as OIFLCup Champions, though it's no certainty.

Bill Lang. Jr. continues his illustrious career as a 12th-year starter in the OIFL, his sixth in Tucson. Never as Tucson starter has his team failed to win 13 regular season games, and most figure that'll continue in 2012. Scorpions head coach Colin Stotts was clear as to why. "The man's never taken a day off in his life. I've never seen a guy driven like him; Bill's going to play until his arm falls off."

Lang's job this year will include serving as mentor to early first round (via trade) pick Tommy Gunn. His job will also be to preside over an offense that some could consider unfair. Cadillac Reid returns as RB; he's the team's all-time leading rusher by more than 2,000 yards. Lang will get to throw to whoever he wants, including Aherion Willett, Rayshawn Dockett, Herb Hoffman, and even lineman Harlan Reiss. Some youth is coming through on the bench, including Chris Copeland and Pavel Sokol, though certainly there's a dropoff (though Dockett only led the team last year with 67 catches). 12th year veterans Gerard King, Marion Stubbs, Nick Land, and Lamont Terry will round out skill position slots for the Scorpions, who might actually have depth issues if a couple guys get hurt.

The line is stellar again, with Cornelius Carmichael, Harlan Reiss, and Wayne Mitchell forming one of the best starting lines in the OIFL. Depth is no issue, with hall of fame OLDL Brad Woodcock sitting back there with other guys such as Savon McGinty, Kieo Pung, and Norman Leslie. Rookie Carlos Fernandez has a bright future, but won't play much unless he has to. Tucson's six deep could start on just about every other team, which as Stotts notes, "injuries happen, we'll just hope they happen where we can replace guys easier."

Defensively, it's really not nice. D'Quell Beedell has emerged as the OIFL's best linebacker, while Cary Maugham might be the league's best defensive back. Rookie Chuck Riffert sits behind the both of them as a viable DS option, while two-way starters Willett, Dockett, and Hoffman are each highly capable players. Perhaps the only defensive back five that can match toe to toe with this one is Cedar Rapids; the Scorpions are loaded. But, again if two guys go down, the team starts to become ordinary.

The schedule is as tough as Tucson fans would expect, given their status as champs. They open in the OIFL Kickoff Classic with Venice at home, and they of course get Los Angeles twice. Washington, Cedar Rapids, and Evansville all get to come to Tucson, but the Scorpions have to travel to Fort Dodge, Wisconsin, Detroit, and Tampa Bay. The champs will involved in many OIFL Game of the Week candidates.

Obviously, when you're defending champs and your roster is still pretty loaded, the goals for the team are high. Tucson is the champ, and they have every reason to believe they can repeat as champs. Injuries will be their key; if some combo of two of Willett, Dockett, Maugham, and Beedell go down, the team starts to have some problems. If not, they might be favored in every game they play.
So this doesn't get updated often. I changed it 2/25/2018, and it said "who wins OIFLCup XI?" Tucson won OIFLCup XI, 58-55 over the Texas Terrors...in 2011...
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Joined: 6:18 PM - Aug 03, 2005

7:35 PM - May 16, 2012 #37

VANCOUVER ISLAND BLITZ

After a playoff win in 2009, the then-Vengeance felt they had a team on the rise. Then, reality hit, they realized that 2009 campaign was on the heels of a ridiculously easy schedule, and the team really wasn't that good. Enter one of the biggesr drafts a team has ever had. The now-Blitz feel strong about the team they've drafted, and about their future. And they're right; they should. But will that translate this year?

Matt Sauk, who sits fifth all-time with 29,605 passing yards (and second all-time with 96 interceptions, but don't mind that), returns for another campaign as Blitz quarterback. Sauk is best when he's got weapons to be reckless with, and, well...he's got weapons to be reckless with. Rookie potential star Royce Buchanan arrives to take some of the pressure off of Sauk (the backup RB situation is even somewhat stable with fellow rookie Randall Ledbetter). Sauk has weapons, too, including rookies John Barba and Demonha Brigham, second-year former sleeper Norm Whittington, and sixth-year Vancouver Island player Roland Long. Depth isn't great, but the starters with Sauk...they're going to put up points. It's what they do.

The line is not at all deep, but the starters are as good as Vancouver Island has ever had. Lucas Nash, Gunther Peterson, and Joe Nunez provide a strong starting line, with veteran Ezeran Cramer backing up along side rookies DaQuan Henderson and Craig Eastmond (are we sensing a theme?). Given the division they're in not being strong, having a couple big time players - and they do with Sauk and Nash - could be the difference between 5 wins and 10.

Defensively, this is one of the organization's best-ever efforts, but it's still Vancouver Island. Drew Eldridge and Jarvis Pritchard will be solid defensive backs, with Kevin Graham a strong third option. The starting line is pretty good defensively; Norm Whittington will come off the bench quite well (note that he might start ahead of Barba). Rookie Jwar Logan looks like a star defensive back in the making. There's a lot of promise for the future here, but the Blitz will depend a lot of a lot of young guys.

The schedule is manageable. Most of the tougher nondivisional games are at home, with the note that Vancouver Island does get to travel to Corpus Christi and D.C. Detroit, New England, and Tampa Bay all come to Nanaimo.

This might be Bill's best team, if you accept that the 12-4 team was a schedule-and-Sauk induced aberration. It was. A couple years of losing has developed quite a few draft picks that now will start developing as active OIFL players. This team has a really bright future, but it's not fair to expect a 13-3 season right now given how young the team is. Sauk and Long are going to will this team to a number of wins, but the rookies up and down the roster will take them wherever they're going to go now, and in the future.
So this doesn't get updated often. I changed it 2/25/2018, and it said "who wins OIFLCup XI?" Tucson won OIFLCup XI, 58-55 over the Texas Terrors...in 2011...
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5:08 PM - May 17, 2012 #38

VENICE WAVERIDERS

Venice has proven an innate ability to master the acquisition of the same result year after year. While it's certainly a better result than many other teams get, Waveriders fans have to be tired of it.

2009: (1) San Antonio 33, (8) Venice 31
2010: (1) Tucson 56, (8) Venice 47
2011: (1) Tucson 52, (8) Venice 49

So, Venice is good at scaring the crap out of the #1 seed in their conference. Venice is the second team in OIFL history to, for three consecutive years, get the last seed in their conference. The difference? Cleveland was the East's four twice, but that was in the two years the OIFL only had four playoff teams per conference (bonus difference, Cleveland lost OIFLCup V as a 4-seed in 2005).

"Certainly, we know what we've done," said Waveriders head coach Mark Strickland. "We're not really happy with this performance, but in order to win in the playoffs, you gotta get there, and we have done that."

Rex Hudson, who has thrown every single pass in Waveriders history (1,824 of them, with 207 TD and 31 INT), returns for his fifth OIFL campaign in Venice (he was also their OIF2 quarterback). Hudson had one of the best seasons in the OIFL last year, finishing third with 3,924 yards, with 72 touchdowns and only three picks. The goals get tougher to meet this year, as this truly is Hudson's team. Carl Mason returns for his fifth season behind Hudson, and behind him are Harry Conduttori and Joe Brockson. Hudson will be throwing to Karl Makhoul, Chauncey Hoxie, Orlandis Tidwell, and backups Matt Frager, Jay Rohr, Curt Bruce, and Jeremiah Spellman. While the pass game has no superstars, this is a group that's been together a few years; Hudson knows where to throw and who to throw to.

The line goes seven deep as well, with Nick Capps, Kelly Gulledge, and Samuel Wells leading a group that includes Dominique Macgruder, Steven Craig, Robert Rubinow, and Lou o'Neil. There are more backups on the roster including a couple rookies, but the rumblings are that venice is watching the waiver wire to fill those last few roster spots. Gulledge is being called upon to be the star everyone thought he'd be in College Station, but it hasn't happened yet. As with the receiving corps, no true superstar exists here, but it's a pretty solid unit that goes deep.

Venice's defense is going to show much of the same as its offense, though DS Cindric Coyne might be able to break that ceiling and become a star. Makhoul and Hoxie are very solid defensive backs, while the defensive line goes just as deep as the offense. The linebacking corps is a worrying point for Venice fans, though Mason and/or Conduttori should be fine. In a pinch DS Otha Merson can also play linebacker. Tenth year veteran Malcolm Inabinett comes to Venice to provide that fourth defensive back and the stability of knowing the team can have better rotations there.

The schedule will provide Venice a number of challenges. In addition to the standard Tucson games and the rivalry with Los Angeles, Venice gets to travel to Rocky Mountain, Evansville, Cedar Rapids, Fort Dodge, and Wisconsin. Home games with Detroit and D.C. underscore that most all of Venice's tough nondivisional games aren't going to be in California.

That schedule is going to make things tough for a Venice team that wants to improve on three straight eight seeds. Most teams that get those high seeds have a couple true star level players, while Venice's mold is more like a Las Vegas 2005 mold where there are 26 players who all can play at a high level. Is it going to be high enough considering some of the guys Venice has to see every week with that schedule? Does Venice have much that truly *scares* teams?
So this doesn't get updated often. I changed it 2/25/2018, and it said "who wins OIFLCup XI?" Tucson won OIFLCup XI, 58-55 over the Texas Terrors...in 2011...
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Joined: 6:18 PM - Aug 03, 2005

6:57 PM - May 17, 2012 #39

WASHINGTON COMMANDOS

In a year where a lot of strange things happened, most OIFL fans figure the strangest of all of them was the Washington Commandos winning the NFC North. Especially given how much Rocky Mountain fell apart last year, it shouldn't be considered as such; Washington was the best team in the division last year, and they played like it. Their big question in 2012? Can they repeat the performance?

Pete Matos returns as Washington's quarterback, and he's proven some level of success in the system the team runs. It's as unique to the OIFL as the San Antonio Rattlers used to be, with the two back set. Moulton Coulier and Earvin Hice both hope to have 1,000 yard rushing seasons for the Commandos, with the knowledge that if they both hit the thousand, the team's going to win a lot of games. Vernon Tyler hopes to emerge as a true receiving threat, opening up running lanes for Hice and Coulier (and Matos). Ron Williams and Mishael Hashim will fight for the second receiver spot. Depth in the skill spots is a huge concern, with Paul Yee, Chuck Fetter, and R.J. Meadows each vying to be the guy the Commandos hope never has to start for Coulier and Hice (there's similarly no receiving depth).

The offensive line is perhaps the OIFL's best starting group with Lars Babaganoosh, Paul Ellis, and Larry Cotton starring for a group that legitimately goes eight deep. The backups aren't as good, but all eight (including David Badnell, Tony Richmond, James Jones, Darnell Centerfield, and Robert Quackenbush) are all capable of playing - Washington last year was depth-starved everywhere; that's no longer the case. Quackenbush has had a career of disappointment after being one of the highest-acclaimed sleepers in OIFL history; it can be especially figured that in his seventh OIFL campaign he wants to prove something.

Williams will assuredly win the WR job because of what he does defensively. Other than Chuck Fetter or (in a pinch) Michael Salinas or Frank McNeil, Williams is the team's only starting-level linebacker. Both Coulier and Hice, as good of runners as they are, they're defensive backs. Conn Vedell, Kevin Kline, Gordon Day, and Tony Stark will rotate as a pretty strong four-DS tandem (with Vedell also being a capable LB if he has to). The defensive line isn't as strong as the offensive line, but it does go eight deep with the same eight. There's plenty of versatility there, but the stronger offenses will find holes.

Congratulations on your division title! While Rocky Mountain misses Cedar Rapids and Tucson, Washington gets 'em both. Tucson's a road game, as are D.C. and London. Tampa Bay, New England, and Cedar Rapids all come to Washington. Washington was 4-2 in the NFC North last year; to repeat in the division they might need to be 5-1 or 6-0 with that nondivisional slate.

Washington feels stronger about this team than last year's, but the results might not be there. It's not to say that 2011 was a fluke; it wasn't (though the Reign fall-apart was a little surprise). But, the depth might not be there to win 12 games in the OIFL. Washington's the rare division champ that's going to be looking on the waiver wire for guys who can play today, and while that doesn't automatically eliminate them from a division championship, it does underscore the fact this team is dead if Coulier and/or Hice get hurt.
So this doesn't get updated often. I changed it 2/25/2018, and it said "who wins OIFLCup XI?" Tucson won OIFLCup XI, 58-55 over the Texas Terrors...in 2011...
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Joined: 6:18 PM - Aug 03, 2005

7:16 PM - May 17, 2012 #40

WISCONSIN WARLORDS

On a side note - yay, we're on the last one!

We are going to note a line of records from an OIFL franchise in their nine-year OIFL history: 13-3, 12-4, 14-2, 12-4, 4-12, 6-10, 1-15, 6-10, 12-4. You can probably guess which OIFL team we're talking about (hint: first line of this post). The Wisconsin (then-Wichita) Warlords came in on fire, and that fire was caused by all-time great RB Grayson Norman. He led a team whose quarterback was Bud Pohlad (he threw 38 touchdowns for a 13-3 team in 2003, and that wasn't because other guys were playing). Marshane Cabell is about 2,500 yards behind Norman's team yardage mark, and his career isn't winding down, so there might be something there.

But really, you could go 13-3 in the OIFL in 2003 with Bud Pohlad at quarterback. It might have helped that Norman had 1,999 rushing yards and 60 (!!!) touchdowns that year.

The quarterback is a little better. Brice Pennington returns for his second full Warlords campaign, and he looks to have a good time. Cabell is the only running back on the roster, though OS Carmelo Rolston can play there in a pinch. The Warlords are going to be looking on the waiver wire for a back, though depth trades might be possible. Pennington's historically great arm (hint: #1 in yards, completions, attempts, and touchdown passes, and #2 isn't close in any of them) will get him over 40,000 passing yards (39,121) early in the season, helped by a receiving corps that's pretty good by any standards. Dan Kimbar in four seasons is already 66th all time with 341 catches in his career. His 83 touchdowns is up the board further, showing he's a big play man - we knew this already. Fellow WRDB Dominique Frazier is 40th all time, but he's had an extra year to ply his trade in Milwaukee. Behind the two are OS Carmelo Rolston, who's always been solid, and a four-headed backup combo that all can start if needed (A. Caspersen, Hurley Adcock, Ted Knight, and hall-of-famer Kyle Harbaugh, who might actually take Frazier's starting spot).

Warlords coach Phil Nelson, the only coach the organization has ever had, has always been loyal to his players to a fault...but Harbaugh should start. He's showed no signs of aging and sits 9th all time with 691 pass catches (and 146 touchdown catches). He's also recorded 36 career interceptions; he's one of the rare "big play machines" that every team covets. "The opportunity came to get a guy with his resume," said Nelson, "and even though we're fine at receiver, you can't turn that kind of resume down. His camp cemented his spot here, too."

The line doesn't necessarily include all of the OIFL's best linemen, but the fact it legitimately goes 9 deep indicates maybe the team could trade for some running back depth from it...Derek Butts, Lance Williams, Yari Blumenthal, Hassan Simpson will fight for three starting spots (Butts looks to be the backup right now), with Jaleel Flax, Jamaal Huff, Woodrow Salazar, and Mike Hintze playing true backup roles. No injury on the line cripples this team. The wild card is Rufus Brown, who while getting older in his 12th campaign is still the OIFL's second greatest sackmaster (and 49 sacks ahead of #3).

Wisconsin's never going to scare anyone defensively, though getting Harbaugh and seeing what kind of camp he had really helps. Harbaugh will start alongside Bob Meisinger and glenn Robinson, with Cabell, Kimbar, Frazier, Caspersen, and Adcock liekly logging significant minutes. Youngster Justin Linzeth, who Nelson noted "had a camp that gives his career a whole new look," will back up at DS, as will new forgotten man Abraham Adama. Wisconsin will give up poionts, in part because either Robinson or Kimbar (probably Kimbar) has to play linebacker, and thus the LB situation isn't *great*, but with that offense you can afford to give up points.

Time for a side note. Pennington has been maligned as a quarterback who always fails in the playoffs. His record isn't great and he hasn't been to the OIFLCup Game, but he does have 52 playoff touchdowns to only 8 interceptions. His QB rating is the best of any quarterback who's played a bunch of games (yeah, even better than his 9-1-in-the-playoffs brother). He really is the Dan Marino of the OIFL.

The schedule is a killer. You knew it'd be rough because they get Evansville and Detroit twice. Add to that home games with Corpus Christi, Tucson, Venice, and Eugene. Add to that games in Norfoolk, Los Angeles, Texas, St. Louis, and the reprieve in the OIFL's toughest venue in San Francisco. Ow! But this team's good enough to handle it.

Is Wisconsin an OIFLCup contender? That's the million dollar question, but signs are pointing that they probably are. Certainly the defense is going to give up points. But, the offense might be the league's best (they really need a back behind Cabell, though, and those linemen are tradeable). Once Wisconsin got to where the young core they put together was good enough to compete, they went out and made the big trade to get Brice Pennington. Other things have fallen into place, and now I think you can reasonably say the Warlords can beat just about anyone. They won't be favored to beat everyone (not with that schedule), but there's no reason they shouldn't think they're going to win a lot.
So this doesn't get updated often. I changed it 2/25/2018, and it said "who wins OIFLCup XI?" Tucson won OIFLCup XI, 58-55 over the Texas Terrors...in 2011...
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