Optimism abound for Bluecats inaugural season

03/19/03 Jeff Gregory

The Evansville Bluecats are in countdown mode.  With the first game of the franchise, at Fort Wayne, just a couple of days away, Coach Avery Atadero and staff are working out the kinks in what the organization believes will be a very successful inaugural campaign.  This optimism is based on talent and experience.  The team boasts several college standouts while Coach Atadero has the experience.

The roster is flooded with local, outstanding talent.  Levron Williams out of Indiana University and Evansville Bosse High School should start at running back.  Williams was an all-Big Ten selection while at IU and saw playing time at both running back and wide receiver.  Dale Jennings, from Vincennes, was an all-conference selection at Butler University and scored 20 touchdowns last year for Bulldogs.  Other players of note include former Evansville Reitz QB, Cory Brunson and Reitz, IU, and Eastern Kentucky wide receiver Tyrone Browning.

Right above, RB Levron Williams at the Bluecats practice facility.

The offensive line has size and includes Purdue and North Posey High School’s Seth Morris.  The team looks for Morris to dominate at 6’10 and 360 pounds.

Defense will be stressed on the Bluecats and the organization is looking for big things from safety Josh Allen.   Allen, from the University of Southern Illinois, is one of the number of ‘Cats with indoor football experience.

Coach Atadero brings four years of indoor experience to the organization. Last season he coached the Tennessee Thundercats to a 10-4 record and a playoff birth.  His squad handed the defending champion OV Greyhounds their only defeat of the season.  He brings a stronger emphasis on defense and the running game not typical of the indoor game.

In preparation for this week’s opener, the ‘Cats had an open scrimmage to a standing room only crowd Saturday night.  The scrimmage showed some promise for an exciting and successful first year for the franchise – not only from team performance but also from a business standpoint.  With the home opener over a week away, there have been approximately a thousand season tickets sold.

The ‘Cats believe they will be a formidable foe to every team this year, but are also focused on some specific objectives. One, according to Michael Arnold, team GM, is to be victorious over the other expansion teams.  That is where the fellow Atlantic East division Freedom comes into the picture for the season opener in Fort Wayne.  The Freedom offers a good measuring stick as the first game. 

Fort Wayne will also be gunning for Evansville, as they want to get off on the right foot as well against an expansion team.  Opening at home will help their cause and create more of a challenge for the visiting ‘Cats.

Freedom Coach Rich Huff boasts a lot of local talent as well and is looking for quarterback Antoine Taylor to offer the leadership on the field.  Taylor played his college ball at St. Francis and already has a good relationship with the team and the offense because of ties to the coaching staff from the past.

With two divisional expansion teams going at it to kick off the 2003 season, the tone is set for an exciting football experience for the state of Indiana.  Rivalries are arguably one of the most compelling aspects of athletics. When is a better time to kick off a nice in-state rivalry than in week one?

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