Share This Page

Plank returns home to Pittsburgh with winless Orlando Predators

| Saturday, May 4, 2013, 12:02 a.m.

The Power's game Saturday at Consol Energy Center could have been an interesting reunion for three members of the visiting Orlando Predators.

But the Predators ruined the party by starting the season 0-5. That led to the firing of offensive coordinator Chris Siegfried, who also was let go as head coach of the Power during the 2012 season. Meanwhile, quarterback Kyle Rowley, formerly of the Power, was arrested on a DUI charge and lost his starting job, although he remains on the Predators' roster.

But coach Doug Plank, a Norwin High School graduate, is coming home, eager to renew acquaintances with family and friends in Western Pennsylvania.

“It's always great to come back to Pittsburgh, the city I really grew up in,” Plank said.

Plank has lived a nomadic life in football since graduating from Norwin. He went to three Rose Bowls with Ohio State before joining the Chicago Bears where defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan famously named the 46 defense after safety Plank's jersey number.

After an eight-year NFL playing career, he has coached indoor football in Arizona, Georgia, Philadelphia and Orlando. He led Philadelphia to the 2012 Arena Bowl, his second appearance in the title game. But he resigned at the end of his only season, citing a grueling workload.

Nonetheless, he quickly changed his mind and accepted the job in Orlando.

“I guess I'm a one-year expert,” he said.

He said coaching the Predators has been more difficult than he expected.

“When you go to a new place and you bring all these different people in, it takes a while to mesh,” he said.

With the offense struggling, Siegfried was fired after three games. “If you are not scoring points, you are probably losing,” Plank said. “It was not anything personal.”

But the team's scoring average fell from 46.6 points with Siegfried to 38.5 without him in the past two games.

Plank hopes that will change after he traded with the San Jose Sharks for 42-year-old quarterback Aaron Garcia, an indoor football legend with 56,186 passing yards and 1,220 touchdown passes to his credit. Garcia's first game for Orlando will be against the Power.

Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jdipaola@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.