Questions Remain For Tampa Bay Storm as New Era Begins
As training camps around the Arena Football League wind down and a fresh season approaches, the Tampa Bay Storm are left with many questions at many positions.
Perhaps no bigger question remains than that of the starting quarterback. As the Storm begin a new era under first year head coach Lawrence Samuels, Tampa Bay is still left with a bit of a quarterback situation. Although it is possible newly acquired quarterback, and Tampa native, Stephen Garcia will be named the teamís opening night starter, the Storm do have another option in QB Randy Hippeard. While Garcia has no previous AFL experience, he was able to compile a record of 20-14 as a starter at the University of South Carolina.
Although Garcia battled conduct issues his entire college career, he looks and feels prepared for a new, fresh start with the Storm and still believes in his dream to play professional football. Hippeard has also been trying to make a case for himself the past couple weeks. In 10 appearances last season, including four starts, Hippeard was able to throw for 1,310 yards and 24 touchdowns in the absence of the injured and now departed QB Adrian McPherson.
While the Storm may have a decision to make at the quarterback position, the team was able to narrow down the opening day roster to 12 AFL veterans and 12 rookies. Michael Lindsey will be one of the leaders of the Storm offense, and it was key to be able to retain a very key elements to its offense and special teams.
As the Storm embark on the 2014 season, the team knows it must focus on a fresh start and improve its game on home turf following a terrible 2-7 record at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in 2013. After a promising 7-4 start to last season, Tampa Bay finished the year on an eight-game losing streak including a brutal collapse in Round 1 of the playoffs against the Jacksonville Sharks. While the Storm begin the season with their third coach in the past five years, they are convinced they have found the right guy in former Storm legend and offensive coordinator Lawrence Samuels.
As the season grind begins against familiar division foes, the New Orleans VooDoo, the Storm are prepared and ready to kick off the 2014 season with the same goal the franchise has always known: Win a championship.