LandSharks' signal callers adjust quickly

07/12/02 Lake Charles American Press

Quarterback is one of the most important positions — if not the most important — in professional sports. Yet the Lake Charles LandSharks continue to win no matter how often they change signal callers.

In two seasons the Sharks have gone 24-5 with six different starting quarterbacks.

In their inaugural 11-4 season, the LandSharks struggled at the QB spot, first with Lance Domec, then Earl Vercher before finally settling on Doug Coleman late in the season.

This year the Sharks have been more steady at starter, but are still on their third quarterback.

Ted Robison got Lake Charles off to a 9-0 start before suffering a season ending injury with torn cartilage in his sternum.

Emergency backup Eric Young, usually a starting wide receiver and the Sharks primary kick returner, played well in the Sharks only loss, a 55-40 Knoxville win.

Now quarterback Brock Bailey is 4-0 as the current starter.

"It's pretty crazy to think we've done so well with so many different quarterbacks, especially in the indoor game," LandSharks coach Kip Texada said. "But each one has come in and played well in coach (James Shiver, offensive coordinator) system, and we surround our quarterback with good athletes, guys like (wide receiver Shadrick) McAfee."

The Sharks have also gone for most of the year without a true backup. Along with one start, Young has had to finish two games for the Sharks, once when Robison was ejected from an April 6 win over Austin, and again when Robison was injured in a win over Omaha.

"I never thought I'd be a quarterback in indoor football, but then again when I first tried out for the team I didn't think I'd be a wide receiver either — I thought I'd be a defensive back," Young said. "But the Austin game, I found out about 10 seconds ahead of time that I would be going in as quarterback."

Bailey was a starter for Omaha who was about to lose his starting spot when the regular quarterback returned from injury — so he came to play with the LandSharks.

Bailey still has room for improvement, but Texada said he's filled in well so far.

"Especially the first few weeks he did real well, but our last game he struggled a little bit," Texada said of the Sharks 42-31 win over Houma where Bailey was held to one touchdown pass after throwing eight in his first three games. "He's the type of quarterback that needs to get off to a good start, but I think he'll be the one that can help lead us to a championship."

"It's been a short period and sometimes I've had a hard time adjusting," Bailey said. "I didn't do as good last week but after the last couple days of practice I'm ready for this week."

The LandSharks would like to do in the NIFL what the Baltimore Ravens did in the NFL in 2000 when the unheralded Trent Dilfer lead the team to a championship.

"We just ask the quarterback to give us so many points, 21 or so, and don't turn the ball over," Texada said. "That's the mentality we have about the quarterback spot. We feel like we have one of the best defenses around to lead us. We had a good defense last year and this year we've been even better.

"It would have been nice to have just one quarterback for the past two years, but it has still worked out."


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