Plank returns home to Pittsburgh with winless Orlando Predators
By Jerry DiPaola
Published: Saturday, May 4, 2013, 12:01 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 email@example.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.
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