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More pressure coming for Extreme defense

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Joe Bevis 030610
Joe Bevis (9) of the Bloomington Extreme looks to the sidelines for advice on a call against the Richmond Revolution Saturday, March 6, 2010. (The Pantagraph, David Proeber)

BLOOMINGTON -- The offense looked out of synch and the defense kept getting burned deep.

For Bloomington Extreme coach Kenton Carr, last week's 49-37 loss to the Richmond Revolution wasn't what he envisioned to start the Indoor Football League season.

"Guys have to understand we're in it to win and we didn't win," Carr said after the team concluded practice Thursday at U.S. Cellular Coliseum. "We've got a lot of athletes, but you've got to have tough football players -- not just physically tough but mentally tough."

Bloomington looks to even its record Saturday in a 7:05 p.m. home contest against the Green Bay Blizzard, the first meeting between Central North Division foes. Veteran indoor football coach Rik Richards, formerly of Extreme rivals RiverCity and Rock River, guided the Blizzard to a 69-61 win over Sioux City in the franchise's IFL debut.

"I know Rik very well; we're friends," said Carr. "I know he's going to take chances. They're going to try to go deep on us."

Going deep worked for the Blizzard -- and against the Extreme last week. Richmond quarterback Bryan Randall threw for 240 yards and seven touchdowns against Bloomington, while Green Bay's Jake Phillips, the IFL's offensive player of the week, completed 16 of 22 passes for 241 yards and eight TDs against Sioux City.

"It's going to be a huge challenge, but that's what you want anytime you're in this league," said Extreme defensive back Terrill Mayberry, who returned an interception for a touchdown against Richmond. "The teams that are going to be fighting for the championship at the end of the year are going to score points.

"I think we definitely have to get better, but it's something that definitely can be done. It's going to have to come through repetition, practice and experience."

Arlandus Hood caught five of Phillips' touchdown tosses, while Daniel Robinson grabbed the other three. But the Green Bay defense allowed Sioux City to rack up 331 yards of offense, and the Extreme hopes a retooled offensive line will lead to similar success.

"We've got one game under our belt and got all the wrinkles out of the way," said lineman Joe Niklasch, who shifts from center to guard as Prenny Stokes takes over handling the snaps. "I think we'll come out a lot smoother this week and come out playing as one.

"I'm excited for us to come together as a group, start rolling and get some revenge for last week."

The Extreme will be without two opening day starters, as running back Derrick Brown and receiver Ottis Lewis sit out with injuries. A leg problem kept Brown out of Thursday's practice, while Lewis was limited by a bad back. Charles Sullivan and Adam Kesler will start at receiver to help fill Lewis' role and Bernard Payton will assume the bulk of Brown's backfield duties.

Carr indicated lineup changes could continue throughout the season if results don't improve.

"Just because someone has a position now doesn't mean it's secure. This is pro ball. Yeah, it is indoor, but it is professional and these guys have jobs to do," Carr said. "Just like anything else, you can't get complacent. You have to keep working hard every week."

Divisional battle

Blizzard at Extreme

Time: 7:05 p.m., Saturday

Broadcast: WTRX-FM (93.7)

 

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