Unbeaten Sharks unveil revamped backfield
05/18/02 Lake Charles American Press
The Lake Charles LandSharks have had a knack for winning close games with tough defense en route to a 7-0 record.
With a revamped backfield, Sharks coach Kip Texada said he is hoping the offense will finally put it together and his team can wrap up a game or two before the fourth quarter.
"We keep having these close games, I wish we would just win big," said Texada, whose LandSharks host the Oklahoma Crude from Enid at 7 p.m. today. "But, everyone is coming out and playing their best game against us."
Defensively, Lake Charles is allowing an National Indoor Football League low 24.3 points per game. But the offense has struggled at times, and now the Sharks will be without starting running back Byron Allen for at least six weeks.
Allen injured his right knee in last week's a 26-15 win over the Mississippi Fire Dogs of Biloxi. The Sharks will experiment with a three-man backfield.
This week the Sharks signed Freddie Bynum, who was an original team member last season. They also brought in former Lafayette Roughneck Anthony Skinner, a 275-pound bruiser back. And Texada said he liked the way Tony Citizen filled in for Allen last week against Biloxi.
"T.C. did a good job and (linebacker) Butch Monticello also did a good job at splitback," Texada said. "I'm not sure who will start, but we want to have a go-to guy at running back more than a running back-by-committee."
Texada said he is looking for more production from the passing game.
"Our quarterback (Ted Robison) has to do a better job knowing what's there," Texada said. "He's doing good in some places and not so good in others. He needs to get better at reading the defense. We're not taking advantage of double teams and spreading the ball out. If people are doubling (receiver Shadrick) McAfee, we need to get it to (Eric) Young; if people are double Young, we need to get it to McAfee. We need to be more balanced, passing and with the running game in order for us to win championships.
"I think in time he will be one of the best quarterbacks in the league, but we need to start putting points on the board," Texada said. The offensive line needs to do a better job, too."
"We need to improve every week in order to be a top team," said receiver/coach Young. "If you stay where you were at the start of the season, by midseason you are going to start getting drilled as other teams start to gel. Our offense is not where it needs to be. Everyone will miss an assignment once in a while, it's human nature, but we've got to minimize our mistakes."
The Crude are 1-6 overall, 1-1 division and 0-3 on the road this season.
After picking up two new quarterbacks two weeks ago — John Carnevali from Rapid City and Shaunte Taylor of Tennessee — the Crude scored a season-high points in a 44-35 loss to Austin last week. Carnevali is expected to start against the LandSharks.