Power look to revive egos against Milwaukee
Pittsburgh Power coach Chris Siegfried can handle strained muscles and broken bones.
Dealing with his team's shattered confidence is not as easy.
The Power (7-6) remain tied for first place in the American Conference East Division with the Cleveland Gladiators, but the players are nursing bruised egos after losing two in a row, including an 81-40 mauling by the Utah Blaze last week.
"We didn't play with any swagger; we played with zero confidence," Siegfried said. "And that was on offense and defense."
Immediately after the game, Siegfried shut the doors to the locker room and had a talk with his players.
"I told them, 'You guys really need to look yourselves in the mirror and figure out what you want to do.' "
The recovery process begins at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, when the Power meet the Milwaukee Mustangs at Consol Energy Center. For the second game in a row, the Power will start the game without quarterback Bernard Morris, who has shoulder and ankle injuries.
Chris Wallace, a 10-year indoor football veteran who was released by the New Orleans VooDoo earlier this season, is expected to start. Quarterback Kevin McCabe, who struggled against the Blaze, was released.
"Not having Bernard in there really affected the offense," said Siegfried, whose team is 2-4 without Morris. "These guys feed off his energy."
Siegfried hopes the return of defensive end Neil Purvis (ankle), defensive back LaRico Stevenson (hamstring) and offensive lineman Chris Terrell (ankle) will help.
"Our offense up front needs to step up and protect the quarterback," Siegfried said. "If we don't protect the quarterback, it doesn't matter who is back there throwing the football. Wallace was basically getting hit on every other play, scrambling for his life."
Meanwhile, the Power remain in charge of their playoff fate, a situation Siegfried doesn't want to change.
"If we don't beat Milwaukee, we have to rely on other teams to get to the playoffs," he said.Additional Information:
Milwaukee Mustangs (4-9) at Power (7-6)
When/where: 7:30 p.m., Saturday/Consol Energy Center
TV/radio: WPCW-TV; KDKA-FM, 93.7-FM, The Fan
Notable: The Power defeated the Mustangs in Milwaukee, 49-47, on March 28, after building a 35-20 halftime lead and going scoreless in the fourth quarter. ... The rematch also could be a low-scoring. The Mustangs are next-to-last in the Arena Football League with a 43.3 points-per-game scoring average, but they are sixth in defense (47.8). ... The Power will hand out free tickets and T-shirts Friday in Oakland, the Strip District and Market Square to anyone who walks up to a member of the team's sales force and says, 'I want the Power.'