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2012 OIFL Team Previews

Commissioner
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Joined: August 3rd, 2005, 6:18 pm

May 8th, 2012, 12:29 pm #1

This thread will be where I post the official 2012 OIFL team previews.
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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Commissioner
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Joined: August 3rd, 2005, 6:18 pm

May 10th, 2012, 1:56 pm #2

BUFFALO SPEED

Buffalo is the reincarnation of the Houston Marshals ownership group, with former Marshals owner Will McKethan making his return to the OIFL. Obviously, the Marshals' issues in the past boiled down to owner participation, an issue that's been promised to have been fixed. That's good, because the talent here top to bottom isn't exactly what Marshals fans hoped would turn into some 12- and 13-win seasons.

Haroly Wyandt gets his shot to quarterback a team with some talent, and there's going to be no competition here. Albert Gardner is a backup, and that's what we have. Buffalo will be hoping a line desperately lacking depth can keep Wyandt above ground, because the run game is going to be based on finesse rather than power. Darius Fitzgerald (and probably Dwenass Killebrew) are going to run the ball out of the OS spot, but you can figure Buffalo's going to throw the football all over the place. Theron Guest is the only listed RB on the roster, and he's probably going to be cut.

While there's not a whole lot in the way of superstar receiving talent, both Fitzgerald and Herb Jackson (168 catches last three years) are going to give Wyandt some weapons. Joshua Soames (209-2385, 44 last three years) will be the top target, and he better be given his payroll. In typical Will McKethan fashion, Buffalo does have overpriced talent. But on a 26-man front, the roster isn't overly expensive. That just means depth is questionable.

The line corps is not going to push anyone around, and that'll be a problem. Wyandt has fumbled the ball in the past, and he's going to take shots. But he's proven to be able to stand up to intense pressure; he quarterbacked in Montreal!

Buffalo decided early on to make sure the offense can be explosive (and it can; the starters are solid and the backups will play OK if Wyandt keeps throwing well). As an expansion team, you can't fix everything early, and the defense will see that. Herb Jackson is probably their top defender, but there is a dropoff from there. One DS slot will have to be used for LB Shakim Matua, and if Jackson or effective DS Chris Perrone go down, there are going to be problems. Consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks is going to be a constant problem all year - Ryan Hutchinson will get a lot more play on the line this year than he has in the past because he's got the ability many other Speed players don't.

The schedule isn't terrible for Buffalo. The AFC East gets the AFC West and NFC North, so Buffalo avoids Evansville, Cedar Rapids, Tampa Bay, and Tucson. They get New England twice, which will be a chore, but some of their tougher non-division games (Fort Mac, Eugene) are at home. The schedule plays well for them.

Assuming the ownership issues are truly in the past for McKethan, Buffalo has a bit of a chance. The line has to be perfect, and injuries will derail anything they have, but with some luck Buffalo can make a run. There's no OIFLCup Game in this year's Buffalo future, but a playoff berth is not out of the question. It might be if they can't get home wins in Weeks 1 and 2 over Long Island and Norfolk, but the schedule is there for them to potentially have a good year (as Norfolk did last year at 8-8). The defense will be the key - if they can't improve throughout the season, Buffalo will be on the wrong end of a lot of 68-60 games.
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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May 10th, 2012, 2:29 pm #3

CEDAR RAPIDS REDEMPTION

Because changing names of an OIFLCup contender always makes sense, the Cedar Rapids Redemption come to town after last year's Phantoms won a playoff game and carded the OIFL MVP in Roland Young. One playoff win isn't going to cut it in 2012 for this organization.

Sean Spoelstra had a plenty fine year in 2011 (52 TD 4 INT), but he's not the star of the show here. 2011 OIFL MVP Roland Young (1,820 yards, 46 TD rushing) is the star the Phantoms revolve around. He's plenty strong enough and is faster than just about every running back in the OIFL. And they'll be happy to let him run behind their line that goes easily seven deep. Mark Blevins is his backup, so a key point of the equation is really solved here. The Redemption have depth everywhere you need it. When they need to throw the ball, and they'll need to - this is indoor football - Spoelstra's proven plenty capable and has no shortage of guys who can catch. Kyle Farmington (20th in the OIFL last three years with 240 catches) has had a solid career in mid-Iowa, and other guys like Merrill Samuels, Zach Welker, Marcus Klecker, and backup OS Ward Soto will be able to provide weapons for Spoelstra. But it's Young's show.

Depth is Cedar Rapids' key. Every player has a backup that can come in and be just fine - problems may come if multiple receivers get hurt (after Klecker, it's a little iffy with a Stuart Nelson or Dan Sin), but it's few and far between that you have a 2010 Evansville where their second string is a 10-6 playoff team. If multiple players get hurt, Cedar Rapids can still survive.

The defense is going to be brutal for opposing teams to face. Cedar Rapids, effectively, goes six deep with starter quality defensive backs. The DS battery of Robert Garrett and Marc Farris will give offensive coordinators nightmares. Add Welker and Merrill Samuels, and effectively the Redemption can go man to man on every team and keep a rover somewhere to help. While the league's greats can beat any man to man coverage, no team has three greats, and if you double even a Jay Yerkes with two of those guys, you have a Jay Yerkes who isn't catching 10 balls.

Why is this even scarier? Roland Young is one of the OIFL's best blitzing linebackers. His weakness is his pass coverage, and unless the Phantoms lose multiple defensive backs, he's...never...going...to...have...to...cover...anyone. Add to that possibly the best three-man DL in the OIFL (Emerson Calderon, Logan Rohtin, Brett O'Dell), and not only will opposing quarterbacks have trouble finding open receivers...they won't have any time to find them. Matt Patten has built a fine defense here.

The schedule always has the fun given the Redemption won their division last year. Tampa and Tucson will be on it given they're a division winner in the NFC (they play the NFC West and AFC South). Given that, they also get St. Louis, Texas, and Corpus Christi. Corpus Christi, Tucson, St. Louis, NFC North winner Washington, and always-tough-at-home San Francisco is the road slate. That's a brutal out of division schedule for the Redemption, but the team might be good enough to survive it.

This team has a shot to be special. Maybe one more trade is needed to cement that status, but this team's going to be good. It's been built well and they already are coming off success. They might not be OIFLCup Game worthy, but no one's going to be shocked if the Redemption are playing their twentieth game of the season. They expect to be there, and they should. The defense is that good.
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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Commissioner
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Joined: August 3rd, 2005, 6:18 pm

May 10th, 2012, 3:15 pm #4

CHICAGO MINERS

The Miners had a rough inaugural year with the combination of the team acting as a proper expansion squad (go young, build guys through that route) and being in a division with Evansville, Wisconsin, and Detroit. The team's improved from Year 1 to Year 2, but they're still in a division with Evansville, Wisconsin, and Detroit. Fans are going to be worried the team's record won't improve a whole lot (and I'm a Browns fan, take my word for it I understand), even if the team does.

Tacasey Cadet is likely to keep the starting QB job, though there's going to be an open competition in the preseason between him, John Morrow, Richard Wright, and Chuck Wente. Given the roster makeup, it's likely between Cadet and Morrow, because a pivot that can't run on a team whose receiving corps is not terribly strong isn't going to be very helpful. Last year, Chicago ran the ball as much as any team in the OIFL with Sean Maxey (939 yards, 18 TD in his rookie year), and the running will continue. Brook Crawford was brought in to be the star of the team (2,642 yards, 78 TD last three years, 23rd in the OIFL in that span). Early camp reviews indicate he can be, but his career certainly doesn't reflect the $270,000 weekly contract he was given. He'll be given every shot to earn it, though.

A big issue Chicago saw was their depth last year. Guys who had no business playing OIFL football were sometimes even having to start. That's not going to repeat. Their 26 man roster will be night and day better, helped a lot by a slew of rookies brought in to provide some real competition. The offensive line is better this year, with second-year OLDL Kevin Labeck showing signs of becoming a star in this league. Chicago lacks star power; anyone who can come forward as one will be welcomed. The backup corps on the line is not great, but is competent, something lacking last year. If Crawford *and* Maxey get hurt, Tommy Fairchild will be called upon to be the star OS the team hoped he'd be when they hit the sleeper last year.

Defensively, Chicago's going to have similar problems to last year. Labeck, as good as he can be, is not a superstar DL yet. He's very good, don't get us wrong here, but he is not going to take over 16 games as "the man." Getting Vern Sweeton to help depth was very well needed, though he's a loose cannon and $80,000 a week was nuts. The price of the 26-man won't be high, but it is contained in a few guys who aren't worth their price. Maxey has to play linebacker as OS is tied up in Fairchild, and he can't cover me. There are no superstar DBs, though the team hopes Blake Blast can become that guy. Crawford was sneaky good as a defensive back in Baltimore; he'll be forced to carry a kmore prominent role this year as Chicago's top corner.

The schedule is brutal. Chicago gets the distinct advantage of playing Evansville, Detroit, and Wisconsin twice. That's 6 playoff games. They also get the NFC West and AFC South, so that adds Texas, Tucson, St. Louis, Venice...four more. The Terrors and Rush are at home, but we're not sure it matters this year. Over half this team's schedule was in last year's OIFLCup Playoffs, and two more (@ Corpus, vs LA) are against teams that are at least perennially close. A home game with San Francisco is the only respite the Miners get.

It's still a building process in Chicago. The team wants to see real improvement out of the team, and they will. But the record isn't going to reflect it. Chicago could've used a schedule with a lot of weaker teams. They'll improve, but the record isn't going to show just how improved the Miners are 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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Joined: August 3rd, 2005, 6:18 pm

May 10th, 2012, 4:47 pm #5

CORPUS CHRISTI STORM

Since their expansion year, the Storm have been known as a team that, while perfectly average, was never able to get over the hump. After another around-.500 season in 2011, the Storm have made it a point to dispel that notion, and fans are as excited about their team since the Rob Cole playoff years in Corpus Christi.

Juan McPherson, who in his relatively short career is already 23rd all-time with 14,210 passing yards, is looking to make a jump into "superstar QB" status, and he's got the receiving corps to do it. Davion Strachan and Jerry Rodriquez are solid running backs, but the Storm aren't ever going to lead the OIFL in rushing. It's not their thing. McPherson, who is third in the OIFL in the last three years with 11,012 passing yards, has what can be considered an elite receiving corps. Dropped passes against top talent might be an issue, but in the past three years, he has five receivers (Kotea Patton, Alex Emmons, Dexter Walters, Darius Mockobee, John Cornell) who have at least 197 catches and 35 touchdown catches. He has...options.

On top of that, he's got rookie sleeper Joe Kenney, who has all of the makings of a potential superstar. Kenney isn't slated to start this year, but Storm coach Mike Willis was very high on his prized rookie. "I've seen some very good receivers here," said Willis. "Kenney has a chance to be a top-10 all-time guy. He's got every tool you'd ever want from a receiver, and while his defense needs to get better to start both ways, he's got the desire and the 'want-to' to eliminate those problems. He can be special, and he's going to have his shot here."

James Tobin is one of the OIFL's better linemen, and he's got Charles Prescott and Josh Salas around him to work. The depth on the line in Corpus consistently has needed work, and rookies Moeeb Razaq and Paki O'Meara have been brought in to help eliminate those needs. The line goes five deep in "starter quality" and seven if you include situational guys O'Meara and Roosevelt Jenkins. "It's going to help us stay sharp," said Willis. "We're not going to lose fourth quarter leads from being tired like we used to."

Defensively, Patton and Emmons will create a lockdown atmosphere for the opposing team's top receivers, but beyond that there's not much star power. Cornell's always there and will be a factor, the team's hoping for a 15-sack year out of Tobin, but this is where Corpus Christi will have fun. Again. If Emmons and/or Patton get hurt, the defense becomes ordinary in a hurry, and with some of the high octane offenses in the AFC South, Storm fans will be watching pinball football as they've grown accustomed. However, given the offensive improvements and how well they'll score, the defense doesn't have to be great for the team to be.

The schedule, while hardly easy, lines up favorably. The Storm will play the AFC and NFC North. Evansville, Cedar Rapids, Vancouver Island (AFC West #3) all come to the Gulf Coast, but Corpus has to travel to Wisconsin and Detroit. Texas, St. Louis, and always-tough San Antonio are on the schedule twice, so the team will be tested early and often.

Fans have a lot of optimism for the Storm this year, and they should. The one storyline to watch, if the team's defense does falter a bit, will be the pursuit of 100 touchdown passes. If the points are needed consistently (and as great as McPherson has been, if your defense is great you aren't scoring 100 touchdown throws), McPherson has a shot to eclipse that mark that has never been done in the OIFL. A bigger goal, though, for the Storm is to play a seventeenth game this season, and that one to not be in the OIFL Invitational Tournament. The division might be a tough goal given the AFC's OIFLCup representative (and the team they beat in the AFC final) being in their division, but it's not out of the question.
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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Commissioner
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Joined: August 3rd, 2005, 6:18 pm

May 10th, 2012, 5:00 pm #6

DALLAS DIABLOS

John-Mark McKethan presided over OIFL history recently when his Waco River Demons earned the league's first-ever 0-16 mark. It was a combination of McKethan ownership troubles and a tough schedule that earned them the 0-16 medal (much in the same way as the 2008 Detroit Lions, that Waco team wasn't the league's worst-ever squad), but all things considered, that team probably had more talent than the Diablos do right now.

Diablos management is very high on rookie QB Alex Pettyfer, so much that there's talk of releasing 12th year veteran A.J. Mizerak. That would be a mistake. While no quarterback is making this Dallas team an OIFLCup contender, A.J. Mizerak has the veteran presence of mind to be an effective game manager for a team that needs talent everywhere. Pettyfer will, and should (if he's your 10-year QB plan), play, but Mizerak should probably start the campaign. The RB battle will be between a host of players, with Kadeem Vogler, Lequinton Arundel, DiCarlos Watts, or DeLorean McNeil getting the eventual nod. My money's on Watts due to his defensive abilities, but none of these backs are going to scare anyone on the Dallas schedule.

Pettyfer and/or Mizerak will be throwing to some players who have had OIFL-level success, but the lack of depth is alarming at the receiver position. Ian Gillian (27-283, 3 TD last 3 years), Tarvaris Holmes (133-1491, 20 TD L3Y), and Adam Reyeb (127-1503, 26 TD L3Y) are going to be the three starting receivers, with fingers crossed that either some other capable players get cut (and it will happen, actually, with the 26-man rosters), or that they don't get hurt.

The line corps, and this is why Mizerak should start, is not good. Matt Thomas is the unquestioned leader of the line, and he hasn't had that role since he played for the Washington Attack. Dallas is very young on the line beyond the 11th year Thomas, and the development of those players will be their key to success in future years. Whoever plays quarterback will get hit a lot, which is another reason to have the veteran who's 13th all-time in passing yardage back there to take the brunt of the action.

Defensively, Dallas is a little stronger, but good offensive teams will still roll them. The defensive line is not going to scare anyone, the linebacking corps is not good, but the defensive backfield can be OK. Rookie DS Bryson Roman-Ayers had a "superstar-level" training camp for a rookie, and he's sufficiently good enough that no one's going to throw to him much. He'll make rookie mistakes, but he has the most upside of any player in Dallas. Daryl Yell will line up alongside him to create what really isn't a bad DS combo.

Sergi Womack might lead the team in scoring, by the way. In his 12th season, Womack is still improving, and he has a shot to move up from 6th on the kick scoring list given how many field goals he'll undoubtedly be kicking.

When you have a team such as Dallas, the schedule is important, but not to see playoff chances. It's to find a game you can peg as a win. There aren't many, but home games with Omaha and North Dakota are probably winnable. It doesn't help to play Tampa Bay, D.C., and London twice, and it certainly doesn't help to get the San Francisco game in front of the Hooligans.

Let's get this out of the way now. This team isn't making the playoffs. The OIT is a long shot. The team has to find the young guys on the roster who will be the stars for this team going forward (and don't ask about winning the Gravy Bowl; London holds their 2013 E1). Dallas has players that can be special (Roman-Ayers, for example). But this is going to be a rough season for Dallas fans.
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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HawksOwner
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HawksOwner
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Joined: August 3rd, 2005, 5:16 pm

May 10th, 2012, 6:46 pm #7

Don't worry John-Mark, I too was predicted as a Gravy Bowl team ;)

And how dare you, Josh, not say that Buffalo has to worry about playing us twice :frantic: just kidding
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Commissioner
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May 10th, 2012, 6:54 pm #8

I fully admit I've been wrong with previews in the past. I had 2001 OIFLCup Champs Rochester missing the playoffs altogether.
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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DallasDiablos
OIFL MVP
Joined: August 2nd, 2005, 8:10 pm

May 10th, 2012, 10:42 pm #9

Commissioner wrote:I fully admit I've been wrong with previews in the past. I had 2001 OIFLCup Champs Rochester missing the playoffs altogether.
I think your bet is pretty good on this pony.


OIFL:
2006 Playoffs
2007 Playoffs

OIFLCL:
2012 Playoffs
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Commissioner
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Joined: August 3rd, 2005, 6:18 pm

May 11th, 2012, 12:09 am #10

Yeah, you'll be scouring the FA wire pretty heavily.
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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