Maniax coach Kippy Brown met with the press Tuesday afternoon to talk about last Sundays season opener, where the Maniax came away with a 22-20 win over the Birmingham Thunderboltz. Brown also commented on this weeks home opener. The Maniax (1-0) will face the Las Vegas Outlaws (1-0) at the Liberty Bowl, 6 p.m. on Sunday, February 11th.
We can play better, Brown said reviewing last weekends performance. In order for us to continue to have success, we need to play better and not make some of the mistakes that we made.
Those mistakes include a Hail Mary by Maniax QB Marcus Crandell at the end of the first-half, with the Maniax up by 13 points. The pass, which resulted in an interception, was only supposed to be a hand-off, according to Brown. In addition, Brown felt that Memphis allowed the Thunderboltz too much success on third-down, where they converted 50 percent of the time (7/14). However, the defense gave up a late touchdown that kept the Thunderboltz in the game, despite forcing two critical turnovers.
Brown was generally positive about the Maniax performance. The first major plus was only one turnover by the Maniax offense. When you go on the road for your first game, with a brand-new team, and you dont turn the ball over, thats big, he said.
In addition, Brown lauded the teams lack of penalties, which plagued the team during the pre-season. The combination led to very few long-down situations, which meant an equally high third down conversation rate (10/20). Finally, the Maniax kept the ball moving with Rashaan Salaams rushing game (154 yards on 24 yards).
Looking toward next week, Brown emphasized that Las Vegas is the first divisional game for Memphis. Brown thinks that the biggest challenge facing Memphis against the Outlaws is stopping their defensive line.
Their front seven, in my opinion, is their strength, Brown said. However, Brown doesnt think the Maniax will fall prey to the pass-rush as did the hapless NY/NJ Hitmen, which could not find a way to score last Saturday.
Were more than a two-back team, Brown said. Were going to play-action, [Crandell] is going to get out of the pocket. Were not going to be be sitting ducks.