Joined: 28 Apr 2001
Location: Tampa Bay
|Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:39 pm Post subject: Coach Ewart Excited for 2013
Nov 30, 2012
Dave Ewart might be the first to say that his team’s current roster is nowhere close to complete, but it isn’t long into any conversation with the Storm head coach until he mentions how excited he is about the upcoming 2013 season.
That’s because even though there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of finalizing personnel, the moves both on and off the field orchestrated by team president Derrick Brooks already signal an improvement from last year’s squad that finished 8-10 and did not qualify for the playoffs for a second consecutive year.
So, with the opportunity for the Storm to only get better, Ewart has a bright outlook.
“Right now, we’re feeling pretty good,” Ewart said. “We brought in some guys who know the motions and who aren’t new to Arena Football, so coming in right off the bat they have some experience. That’s not to say we’re finished, but things are looking like they’re moving in the right direction.”
If it was one thing for Tampa Bay to be able to retain several key core players from last season, it was quite another to dip into the general free agency pool and make a splash.
And wouldn’t you know it, the Storm did just that.
Joining returning players such as Stephen Wasil, Chandler Williams and Pernell Phillips among others will be a revamped secondary and defensive unit that includes defensive backs Travis Williams, Rashad Barksdale, De’Audra Dix and Jean Fanor. The Storm even bolstered the defensive line by bringing back David Akinniyi and adding Tremaine Johnson.
All of it, however, when put into perspective, is particularly intriguing considering that the Storm finished in the top 10 of the league rankings last season for total defense, with the club looking to improve upon that mark even further.
“Anytime you return several players who made your defense strong the previous year is always a plus,” Ewart added. “But like I said, to add guys on the defensive side of the ball who have already gone through the motions is something we expect to make us better.”
That Ewart expects the defense to improve as a sole result of the fresh faces on the field is perhaps a remission.
In fact, he admitted he was just as anxious to see the finished product on the gridiron as he was to work with long-time friend and defensive specialist Doug Kay, whom the Storm hired as an assistant coach earlier this week.
Kay returns to his AFL roots, as he began his coaching career with the Storm in 1993 as defensive coordinator for the ArenaBowl VII Champions. He last coached in the AFL with the Columbus Destroyers from 2006 until 2008, where he led the team to its lone ArenaBowl appearance in 2007.
He brings with him nearly 50 years of coaching experience and will be responsible for assisting Ewart in the development of the defense and the defensive backs.
“It’s going to be fun, and I’m looking forward to it a lot,” Ewart said of working with Kay. “He’s been around a long time in our league and there’s no doubt we will be a lot better in the back end because of him. He’s seen it all and he’s done it all, so I feel like as a staff, we will have a lot of continuity.”
What will be seen and done moving forward throughout the upcoming season remains to be seen, but if Ewart is already excited about what has been accomplished in just a few months, just wait until March rolls around for kickoff.
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