Power meet former QB Morris again
By Jerry DiPaola
Published: Thursday, March 28, 2013, 5:21 p.m.
Power coach Derek Stingley knows enough about the Jacksonville Sharks' offense. The problem is trying to stop it.
“They say, ‘This is what we do. Now, stop it,' ” Stingley said.
The Power struggled Saturday in a 64-33 opening-night loss to the Utah Blaze, giving up touchdowns on five consecutive offensive possessions to start the game.
It won't get any easier Friday when the Sharks come to Consol Energy Center for the second game of the season.
The Sharks' Bernard Morris, the Power's quarterback in their expansion season of 2011, picked apart his former team last year, throwing eight touchdowns and completing 20 of 25 pass attempts in a 64-39 victory at Consol.
Last week, while defeating the Tampa Bay Storm, 64-55, Morris was 24 of 31 for 269 yards and seven touchdowns.
“He understands the game and he knows what he has to do with the ball immediately,” Stingley said.
Stingley said Morris gets the ball out of his hands quickly and accurately. He proved that last week, emerging from the AFL's first weekend with the league's best passing efficiency (142.3). Plus, the Sharks are No. 1 in rushing offense, with an impressive indoor football total of 77 yards last week.
Morris could have been running the Power offense, but he had arm problems in Pittsburgh, and former coach Chris Siegfried decided to allow Morris to sign elsewhere in 2012.
“He's turned out to be a great quarterback,” Stingley said.
Meanwhile, the Power has employed eight players at quarterback in three seasons, but Stingley appears sold on the current one — former LSU starter Jordan Jefferson. The second-year coach said he plans no lineup changes this week.
“I think the guys we have out there will get the job done,” Stingley said.
The Blaze sacked Jefferson four times while offensive coordinator Mike Tomczak was forced to abandon his game plan. The idea was to get Jefferson into a 3-step drop with shorter passes and allow elusive wide receivers Mike Washington and P.J. Berry to make plays. But after the Power fell behind in the second half, Tomczak called for deeper throws and a 5-step drop, putting more pressure on the offensive line.
“Our protection didn't hold up all the time,” Stingley said.
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