2017 Season Preview - Salt Lake Screaming Eagles Feb 11, 2017 15:44:45 GMT -8
Post by Nevadanut on Feb 11, 2017 15:44:45 GMT -8
On February 16, the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles will make history as the first fan-run professional football team when they take the field for the first time.
Through the team's mobile application, fans have voted for every aspect of setting up the franchise. From the team's location, name, colors, head coach, and uniforms to the dance team and even the team's official Twitter hashtag (#TalonsUp). Still to come will be the voting for final 25-man roster, which will be finalized on February 14th, and the ability to call plays during the game.
The operative question here is: Will it work?
Head Coach William McCarthy is confident that it will. There may be timing issues, as there is limited time between plays (just 25 seconds). It will be up to the coach to streamline that process; to make it run smoothly. Putting together a strong, athletic roster will be the key. He'll need to make the transition of players from the end of one play to the formation of the next run smoothly and efficiently. The coach is up to the challenge.
In an exclusive interview with SCtoC, McCarthy spoke of having players who can play multiple positions, such as offensive or defensive linemen who are able to play on the other side of the ball or wide receivers who can play running back or even defensive back. There are 25 players on an overall roster with four being inactive. That leaves 21 players to take the field each game. Each team has a kicker and a backup quarterback, so that technically leaves just three other bench players, which could compromise of offensive/defensive lineman, defensive backs and wide receivers. Fortunately for the Screaming Eagles, one of the quarterbacks on the active roster, Verlon Reed, is listed as a QB/WR as he has played both in college and could free up an extra roster spot for depth. That makes the necessity for versatility paramount.
The following is the 2017 Screaming Eagles opening day numerical roster:
1 - Verlon Reed (QB/WR)
2 - Breon Allen (RB)
3 - Don Unamba (DB)
4 - Brock Lutes (WR/DB)
5 - Jesse Scroggins (QB)
6 - Ed Burns (DB)
7 - Justin Brown (WR)
8 - Zavier Steward (RB)
10 - Derwyn Lauderdale (WR)
11 - Davion Orphey (DB)
12 - Rashad Greene (DB)
13 - Cyrus Strahm (K/WR)
21 - Juwan Dotson (WR)
25 - Antion McBee (DB)
45 - L.T. Filiaga (LB)
51 - Alex Land (OL)
52 - Ofa Hautau (DL)
53 - Siale Hautau (DL)
55 - James Wilkes IV (OL)
56 - Steven Gurrola (OL)
59 - Visesio Salt Jr. (OL/DL)
84 - Devin Mahina (WR/TE)
93 - Seante Williams (DL)
96 - Ben Compton (DL)
97 - Jerrod Black (DL)
Several are local players who have yet to play a game of indoor football. Others have some degree of indoor football experience, such as Breon Allen, who ran for 336 yards (4.1 yards per carry) and six touchdowns with the Colorado Crush last season.
"I really like our roster," Coach McCarthy told SCtoC. "We have a lot of guys who can play. We have some veterans we picked up. and you always try to mix in a couple veterans and you bring in some rookies. With us being an expansion team, it's always hard to bring in a lot of veterans (on your roster). You have an unproven commodity and folks don't know where it is, so usually you do get a lot of rookies. I've been in that situation where we've built expansion teams so, for me, I'm familiar with that aspect. I like bringing in the rookies. They're young and they're hungry and they want to prove something to somebody."
Per the team's official website, five players were up for vote at each position with the top two vote-getters at each position are guaranteed roster spots. Coach McCarthy is allowed to add non-winners to the final roster. Fans were allowed one vote per position. Voting for the wide receiver, defensive lineman and defensive backs position ended at 3 p.m. pacific time on Feb. 12.
Head Coach William McCarthy with players during training camp.
(Photo courtesy Salt Lake Screaming Eagles)
It's a daunting task for any expansion team to find early success. Three of the Screaming Eagles first four games are against 2016 playoff teams. They face Intense Conference regional rivals the Crush and the Spokane Empire twice each through the end of March after opening at home against the Nebraska Danger on February 16.
The keys for the team's success will be the improvement it sees over the first half of the season. At first glance, having its byes in Weeks 3 and 5 could provide time for Coach McCarthy and the team to regroup. Technically, it's an actually week off, but it does give the coach and the players time to take a step back look at where each of them are at those points of the season.
Project FANchise is the driving force behind the Screaming Eagles and has since purchased the Crush as well. That could develop into a natural rivalry between the teams. The FANchise organization is unique and will attempt to bridge the gap between fantasy sports, video games, and live sports. It'll be the first fan-run organization in all of professional sports.
Through its mobile app, it will encourage fans to become involved in team decisions. The group will also allow fans to analyze game film and offer input to the coaching staff.
Sohrob Farudi, Project FANchise's Founder & CEO couldn't be more excited about the new team. "Today is an incredibly exciting day for the millions of sports fans who have always dreamed of running their beloved team," he said in the expansion press release when the team was announced on April 21 of last year. "We are empowering fans to make real decisions; to be part of the team.
Farudi is familiar with the sport of indoor/arena football; he was one of the investors in the Las Vegas Outlaws franchise that played one season in the Arena Football League last year.
Former Pro Bowl and Green Bay Packers running back Ahman Green was also announced as the team's director of eSports. In a statement, Green said, "Fans drive their teams every day, in-season and off-season. As a former NFL player with IFL ownership experience, I saw this as an opportunity to revolutionize fans’ participation by blending the physical with the digital. With exponential growth in recent years, we see eSports as an invaluable avenue to provide more access to fans.”
Green's IFL ownership experience was as a co-owner of the Green Bay Blizzard.
IFL Commissioner Mike Allshouse couldn't help but rave about the new expansion team. "The addition of Project FANchise to the IFL is not only a perfect fit for our geographic map, it also provides the ability to be on the cutting edge of a completely new and hands-on approach to team operation that will bring fans closer to the action than ever before," he said in the league's press release. "Project FANchise Founder & CEO Sohrob Farudi has dedicated his organization to bringing a truly unique and revolutionary product to the Salt Lake City community."
The Salt Lake Screaming Eagles marks the second go-round for an arena based football team in Utah. The first team, the Utah Blaze, played in the Arena Football league from 2006-2008 before the league folded in 2009. The Blaze subsequently re-branded itself as the Utah Valley Thunder and played one season in the American Indoor Football Association. In 2010, the Blaze brand was revived along with the revival of the AFL. The Blaze would play four seasons before folding after the 2013 season.
The Screaming Eagles open their inaugural season at home against the Nebraska Danger, February 16 at 6 p.m. (click for the full 2017 Screaming Eagles schedule). They play their home games at the Maverik Center in West Valley City, Utah. All IFL games will be available for streaming on YouTube in 2017.
Information from David in his article IFL annouces Salt Lake City expansion which was published on SCtoC on April 21, 2016 contributed to this article.
To comment on this thread and others on this forum, please login or register.