ShareThis Page

Power coach James shows who's the boss

Jerry DiPaola
| Thursday, May 8, 2014, 9:02 p.m.
New Pittsburgh Power head coach Ron James works with the linemen during practice at the UPMC Sports Complex on the South side on Tuesday March 25, 2014.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
New Pittsburgh Power head coach Ron James works with the linemen during practice at the UPMC Sports Complex on the South side on Tuesday March 25, 2014.
Pittsburgh Power offensive lineman Colin Madison (70) during the game against the Philadelphia Soul at the Consol Energy Center on Saturday May 3, 2014.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Power offensive lineman Colin Madison (70) during the game against the Philadelphia Soul at the Consol Energy Center on Saturday May 3, 2014.

During his seven weeks on the job, Power coach Ron James has made three points clear:

• He is in charge.

• The team comes before individuals.

• Displease him, and suffer the consequences.

James made a bold move last week when he decided not to play wide receiver James Shaw against the Philadelphia Soul, even though two other top pass catchers — Prechae Rodriguez (foot) and Aaron Lesue (knee) ­— were out with injuries.

“Coach's decision,” James said, explaining the absence of Shaw, who was ejected from the Cleveland game April 26 for throwing a punch at a Gladiators player. Shaw was not suspended by the Arena Football League, but he was forced to answer to a more immediate authority.

The result was a 65-57 Power victory against the Soul that proved James' point: teamwork wins. All four wide receivers — Shaun Kauleinamoku, Hank Edwards, Rodney Wright and Tyrone Goard — caught touchdown passes in Shaw's absence.

“I told them I felt betrayed as a coach,” James said of the 55-28 loss to Cleveland in which the Power were called for 14 penalties for a loss of 101 yards. “I thought we were building something for a month (when the Power won three in a row) and in one week they tore it all down. So we had to go in and rebuild getting into the Philadelphia week. Hopefully, that's a lesson learned and we can put something together here.”

That won't be easy.

The Power have a difficult test Friday night when they visit the Spokane Shock (5-2).

The Shock set a franchise record for fewest points allowed last Sunday in a 70-21 victory at the LA Kiss. Overall, the Shock is third in the league in scoring defense (43.7 ppg).

James said his team recognized his disappointment and showed admirable resiliency in beating the Soul.

“They went outside the game plan,” James said of the repeated penalties at Cleveland. “They hammered home the game plan (against Philadelphia), made sure everything was taken care of and played as a team.”

Now more than ever, the key player is quarterback Tommy Grady, who gives the Power a legitimate chance to win every game. Grady leads the league with 173 completions and is 71 yards short of 20,000 career passing yards.

With Lesue out for the season and Rodriguez probably two weeks from returning, the team will go as far as Grady will take them. Assuming, of course, they continue to heed their coach's words and avoid those costly penalties.

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.