Night Train impressed with Shields

05/06/02 LaCrosse Tribune
Everyone involved with the Night Train, it seems, has a different reason for liking Marrial Shields.

Doby Howard likes the fact that now he can concentrate on being a running back full-time.

"I think it's better for me to get the ball from the backfield, so I can look at the linebackers," said Howard, who had been bouncing between the quarterback and running back positions before Shields joined the team two weeks ago.

New head coach Mike Brown has lots of reasons.

"You really can't draw up a defense for him," said Brown after Shields picked apart the Wyoming defense and carried La Crosse to its first victory Saturday night at the La Crosse Center. "When you think he makes plays only with his feet, then he makes them with his arm."

Shields, who was brought in by former coach John Schimon, was a senior at Valparaiso University this year before finding out about the Night Train from college teammate Scott Tyrcha. Shields wasn't even the full-time quarterback at Valparaiso, and has certainly surprised the Night Train with his performances in his first two games.

"The quicker game fits me better," he said. "The smaller field really helps me."

Something seems to be working. In his first two games, Shields has completed 16 of his 31 passes for 176 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He's also run for 104 yards and a touchdown. Not bad statistics for someone who had never played indoor football before two weeks ago.

After Schimon proclaimed Shields the starting quarterback last week before he was fired, former starter Colby Vogt left the team, leaving Shields the clear cut leader of the Night Train.

The lack of a quarterback controversy has certainly made things easier for Brown, who is as new to head coaching as Shields is to indoor football.

"He's such a weapon," Brown said. "He makes play calling easy."

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