Night Train to test QB shuffle

04/06/02 La Crosse Tribune
So far, the La Crosse Night Train have been more like the Little Engine that Could - without the storybook ending, that is.

La Crosse has not been the powerful and unstoppable locomotive that coach John Schimon had expected when he was building the National Indoor Football League team. The trigger man, Colby Vogt, has struggled. He's been bounced around, bruised and hurt, too, which hasn't helped his cause.

Today, Schimon will alternate between Vogt and fleet-footed Doby Howard - a 5-foot-11, 200-pounder from Saginaw Valley -- when the Night Train play host to the Sioux City Bandits at the La Crosse Center. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.

"Colby will get two series, and Doby will get two series. Then one for Colby, one for Doby. The one with the hot hand will finish the game," Schimon said. "There are two reasons why we are doing this. One reason is to get a different look and another is to hopefully spark our offense."

Sioux City's offense exploded for 63 points in its opener last week as it destroyed the Oklahoma Crude 63-3. The Bandits' performance, however, was not that overpowering, coach Carl Reinhardt said.

"Oklahoma was extremely disorganized. The score is not really reflective of how good we are. It was a tough game to gauge yourself," said Reinhardt, whose team arrived in La Crosse Saturday night. "La Crosse has a good team, a team that can spook you. I see them bringing it to the table."

If La Crosse is going to avoid an 0-3 start, it will need more consistency, and some big plays on both offense and defense. So far, the Night Train have lacked both in their first two games. Reinhardt, a former Sioux City player whose career ended two years ago with a knee injury, doesn't expect that drought to continue.

"I think Doby will bring more to the table. He is an exciting guy; he is a playmaker," Reinhardt said. "He forces things to happen. He will sell tickets for them."

The Night Train (0-2) drew an announced crowd of 2,950 for the franchise's first home game. Schimon would like nothing better than to give the home fans something to talk about today, and he has brought in a possible defensive star to spark the team.

"Al Olieh is a defensive end that could really help us. He went to some pro camps, but hurt his shoulder last year," Schimon said. "They (pro teams) want to see if he can still play with that. He's been at two practices where we went pretty hard. He seems to be fine."

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