Official OIFLCup XVII Preview

It’s all come down to this.  The D.C. Conspiracy and Texas Terrors are here, and we shall have a first-time OIFL Champion.  Now, not everyone’s new to the OIFLCup Game.  Texas has been to the top twice, only to see failure.  The Conspiracy both haven’t been here, nor have very much in the way of players that have.  Everyone’s hungry.  Two franchises with long-time RB stalwarts (Corey Palso & Markelle Cox) are looking to get their guys to glory in the twilights of their careers.
Conspiracy offense vs Terrors defense
The D.C. Conspiracy have built an offense around consistently operating a strong read option run game, and the ability to throw it all over the field just in case.  Adam Kruse learned how to do this via top-5 all-time QB Dan Jackson.  Now, unlike Jackson, Kruse can run.  His legs knocked the Squirrels out of the playoffs, and his arm helped knock the Rush out of the playoffs.  Kruse has all the weapons you could want.  Corey Palso is still a top-5 back in the league, and he has another top-20 back in Jonas Mouton backing him up.  Cornell Sarvas, Alex Emmons, Tommy Fairchild, Rasheide Benefield, Kway Richardson – plenty of options.  While DC doesn’t go four-wide ever, they could.  And Palso’s effective enough catching that they can afford it.  Jason Faber, Erik Brooks, and Trevor Bruttenholm form one of the top starting lines in the league.  Depth is not the strength if someone gets knocked out, but that’s not going to be a huge concern in this one-off game.  Play till your legs fall off – this is the OIFLCup Game!
Texas provides an effective counter-punch.  The defensive line is perhaps the OIFL’s best with Bill Christoff, Leslie Peine, and Antoine Calp.  Depth is strong here, as Tremaine Mack and Joey Weinstein will both play plenty.  Markelle Cox is one of the OIFL’s all-time best linebackers, and the backfield of Brook Crawford, Norm Whittington, Shaun Bollings, Emerson Kalp, Ja’Mario Reese, and Frederick Pilarowski provide cover for all DC wants to do.  And they get the added boost of Achilles Byron returning from the concussion early.  Based on this side of the equation, we may be in store for a very low-scoring OIFLCup Game.
Terrors offense vs Conspiracy defense
Of course, not if these guys have anything to say.  Van Nostran is no stranger to wild offensive games – after all, he was trained in the Robert Cole style.  Brook Crawford and Markelle Cox combine for a strong run game, while Whittington/Bollings/Tywon WIlliams/Byron/RiQuan Peck – the Texas offense has weapons.  Add that Christoff/Peine/Calp line that may also be the OIFL’s best on this side, and Texas can score with anyone.
But, the Conspiracy also have something to say here.  Palso is every bit Cox’s equal at linebacker, and the defensive backfield of Sarvas, Emmons, Nevil Haze, and Blake Blaze has caused teams fits all year long.  Where DC has struggled is against power run teams, as the secondary isn’t the league’s best tackling group.  Of course, against Faber/Brooks/Bruttenholm, you have to get to that second group, which has been the issue.  This may well be another chess match on both sides.
The special teams battle
Tommy Fairchild for the Conspiracy and Tywon Williams for the Terrors provide all the kick return strength you could want.  D.C. has gone with Rasheide Benefield at times as well, but in a game like this, I suspect they keep with Fairchild.
Rookie Stephen Smyka may be the OIFL’s rookie of the year, despite a rookie class that’s gotten a lot of play (relative to others).  Smyka’s 46-yard field goal sent DC to the OIFLCup Game, and he’s hit numerous other big kicks.  Gary Hoffert, however, is the 12th-year veteran kicker that has helped Texas get this far as well.  Slight edge here to the Terrors.
This shapes up to be another fun OIFLCup Game.  The only thing for sure is that the long-time running back that’s the face of their franchise will be the first guy to hoist the OIFLCup when their team wins.

2018 Entry Draft Class Preview

The newest crop of players have all declared for the 2018 Entry Draft, so let’s take a look at the cream of this year’s crop. Note that we are looking at players in their listed positions- not projecting any position changes- and that the players in each position are not necessarily ranked in order.

Check back at a later date, when we unveil the 2018 Mock Draft for Round 1!

Top 3 QBs:

  • Larry Campos
  • James Marple
  • Pat Sweeney

Campos and Marple are both old-fashioned drop-back QBs who are natural leaders but not the quickest on their feet; Campos is currently equal to or a little above Marple in most respects. Sweeney is an intriguing option for his quality arm and athleticism (the latter is hard to find among this class), but has demonstrated leadership issues in college.

Top 3 RBs:

  • Roger Schneider (LB)
  • Rod Yount (LB)
  • Kawan Ishner (DB)

Ishner may be the most intriguing due to his skills throwing the ball, and he has it where it counts to run the ball and cover. Schneider is currently the most game-ready RBLB, but Yount offers more versatility and has a bit higher ceiling.

Top 3 WRs:

  • Robert Dangola (DB)
  • Alquan Lund (LB)
  • Renny Taylor (DB)

This is a strong group, and all three could be major players in time. Dangola needs some speed work to be a starter by modern OIFL standards, but could easily contribute from day 1. Lund could play LB or DB with the right focus, and may be the biggest star of the bunch when all is said and done. Taylor is not far behind either of them.

Top 3 Linemen:

  • Robert Heller
  • John Borrisen
  • John Osley

Heller has both star potential and short-term value as someone who could play from Day 1. Borrisen is more of a long-term prospect, while Osley could possibly play quickly but doesn’t have the same star potential.

Top 3 DSs:

  • Carmelio Menechella
  • Antoine Eyer
  • Hans Boldt

Eyer and Menechella are the top two here, with Menechella having more LB-esque skills than Eyer (who’s more of a cover corner). Boldt could step in quickly with some training at corner, but doesn’t have elite skills beyond coverage.

Top 3 OSs:

  • Omotade Adeniyi
  • Martin Frank
  • Stefan Cavaluz

Adeniyi is by far the best prospect among this group, and could immediately step in for a young team. The others all have some deficiencies which would require some training to overcome.

Top 3 Ks:

  • Werner Brielmeyer
  • Karl Koepke
  • Bob Carol

Brielmeyer is the only kicker in this year’s class likely to be able to competently be the guy for a team in 2018. Koepke could be an intriguing long term prospect with his speed and skills; he would give additional options for trick plays in the special teams game. Carol could be good in a couple years with training.

Pre-Season Review: Most Improved Players

With the pre-season in the books, it’s time to take a look at who rose above the fray to show their skills, who was the most successful at improving their skills, and determine the roster of the first OIFL Press’ Pre-Season MIP Team.

First, lets look at the gains made by players on each roster:

ARIZONA: Total Earned – (0.8)
WRDB Roger Friedman (0.2)
OLDL Lloyd Ruff (0.2)
OLDL John Dulisse (0.2)
OLDL Charles Cuff
OLDL Lywon Rogers
BALTIMORE: Total Earned – (0.5)
WRDB Paul Rollman (0.2)
DS Cave Johnson

OLDL Wade Michael
OS Vincent Gerard III
CHICAGO: Total Earned – (1.0)
QB Jim Holcombe (0.4)
RBLB Dyen Johansen (0.2)
DS DeAngelo Penzel (0.2)
OS Je’Qual Kelly
DS Jim French
D.C.: Total Earned – (1.6)
DS JeQuavion Lawrence (0.3)
OS Ronconaghuey Moss (0.3)
QB Mark Kingseed (0.2)
OLDL Mario Tenore (0.2)
RBLB Grant Ward (0.2)
WRDB Matt Marion
OLDL Germarion Schulz
OLDL Sam Morris
OLDL Stephen Czerwinski
EUGENE: Total Earned – (1.3)
QB John Hunkele (0.2)
OLDL Randal Bohannan (0.2)
WRDB Jemequaerion Kob (0.2)
WRDB Pepe Silvia
WRDB Chuck King
OLDL Greg Mack
OLDL Mark Heisler
OLDL Richard Townley
DS Je’Quan Diek

RBLB John Zaruka
EVANSVILLE: Total Earned – (0.2)
RBLB Amaro Zilanawala
QB Michael Whalen
FORT McMURRAY: Total Earned – (1.3)
RBLB Art Tribbey (0.4)
DS Ralph Lee (0.3)
WRDB Jim Osbon (0.2)
WRDB John Jackson (0.2)
WRDB Tom Blevins
DS Ralph Lee
FORT WORTH: Total Earned – (0.6)
OLDL Dale Harding (0.3)
OLDL Rick Smith
RBDB Don Sochowitz
WRDB Alan Rendfrey
HUNTINGTON: Total Earned – (0.8)
DS Paul Boyd (0.2)
WRDB Rex Kuntzelman (0.2)
WRDB Del Kautz
WRDB John Jackson
OLDL Robert Kern
DS Levaughn Haywood
INDIANAPOLIS: Total Earned – (1.0)
OLDL Robert Pauly (0.4)
RBLB Raynor Baz (0.2)
WRDB Richard Hollenback (0.2)
OLDL Kwamie Weindruch
DS Spiro Pappas
LINCOLN: Total Earned – (0.6)
OLDL Louis Warren (0.2)
OLDL Chuck Munson (0.2)
OLDL James Marcs (0.2)
LONDON: Total Earned – (0.2)
QB Rudolph Zinger
RBLB Jack Jones
LOS ANGELES: Total Earned – (0.4)
WRDB Donald Avery Hall (0.2)
QB Willy Robertson
RBLB Ross Franklin
MAYKOP: Total Earned – (0.6)
WRDB Iridor Human (0.2)
OLDL Clark Abbott (0.2)
OLDL Geronimo Jennings
QB Bob Maino
NEW YORK: Total Earned – (0.1)
QB Petr Kopfstein
OHIO: Total Earned – (0.5)
RBLB William Lee (0.3)
WRDB Bob Tomlinson (0.2)
OSLER: Total Earned – (0.5)
RBLB Jack Conley
OLDL Norman Kunsky
DS Jack Schneider
WRDB Jim Tusing
K Rick Williams
PHILADELPHIA: Total Earned – (0.6)
DS Andy Plewa (0.2)
WRDB B Fortney (0.2)
QB Don Kelly
RBLB Rich Braskett
PORTLAND: Total Earned – (1.0)
OS Brad Ross (0.2)
WRDB Bert Marovich (0.2)
WRDB Balon Arryn
WRDB Maurice McSwain
RBLB Sam Phillips
OLDL Eltiden Long
OLDL Patrice Cirspinski
DS Brad Ross
RUIDOSO: Total Earned – (1.2)
DS Mario Hernaiz (0.2)
QB Benjaymond Cannon (0.2)
RBLB Burt Nowak (0.2)

OLDL E. Guidetti (0.2)
OLDL David Prettenhoffer
OLDL Gordon Duffield
OS DuQuavion BrownLee
DS Mario Hernaiz
SACRAMENTO: Total Earned – (0.8)
DS Larry Yergeau (0.4)
OLDL Cann Blitzem (0.2)
OLDL Will Blitzem
WRDB Stephan Ginez
SAN ANTONIO: Total Earned – (0.7)
WRDB Ed Continenza (0.4)
OLDL Bill McNeely (0.2)
WRDB Quan Knoy
SAN FRANCISCO: Total Earned – (0.4)
WRDB Jonathan Oakley (0.2)
WRLB Vernon Burkhead
WRDB Marq Torres
SEATTLE: Total Earned – (0.6)
OLDL Duane Prewitt, Jr. (0.2)
QB Demarion Poole (0.2)
OLDL Bruce Hayden
WRDB M.J. Rose
ST. LOUIS: Total Earned – (0.8)
K Tony Maloloyon (0.3)
RBDB Dave Formento (0.2)
QB Shane Bollings
OLDL Skip Svarth
OS Piedmont Moss
TEXAS: Total Earned – (0.6)
WRDB Domingo Domenech (0.2)
WRDB RiQuan Peck (0.2)

OLDL Wilfred Laurence

QB Pete McLeod
VANCOUVER ISLAND: Total Earned – (1.7)
DS Allen Gerard (0.4)
OLDL Jack Wreight (0.3)
RBLB Billy Brawn (0.2)
OLDL Gust Richards (0.2)
OLDL Ray McIntyre
WRDB Danny Darrington
WRDB Miquel Simpson
QB James Bordain
DS Darby McBride
K Luis Galarza
WACO: Total Earned – (1.0)
QB Stan Kirby (0.2)
WRDB Ken Wortman (0.2)
WRLB Wayne Dodge (0.2)
OLDL Mark Childs (0.2)
OLDL Norman Dickerson

RBDB Gubb Karter

WISCONSIN: Total Earned – (0.3)
QB Kimane Domena
WRDB Juwon Mack
OLDL Mantis Toboggan
The biggest winner of the pre-season appears to be Vancouver Island (1.7), followed by DC (1.6), Eugene and Fort McMurray (1.3 each), Ruidoso (1.2), as well as Chicago, Indianapolis, Portland and Waco (1.0 each).
The least fortunate teams this pre-season seem to be Omaha (no improved players), New York (0.1 total team improvement and injury to RBDB Reid), Chicago (injury to DS Penzel), Ohio (three pre-season injuries)



With all the improvements tallied up, next let’s take a look at the Pre-Season MIP (Most Improved Player) Team, made up of the players in each position who showed the most improvement over camp. Priority was given to who earned the most improvement, but in the case of a tie priority was given to the perceived likelihood that the player would make and have an impact on their team in the regular season.

OIFL Pre-Season MIP Team:

(* = tied with other players not on the roster for most improved)

QB: Jim Holcombe (CHI – 0.4)
RBLB: Art Tribbey (FM – 0.4)
WRDB (2): Ed Continenza (SA – 0.4), Roger Friedman* (AZ – 0.2)
OLDL (3): Robert Pauly (IND – 0.4), Jack Wreight (VAN – 0.3), Dale Harding (FW – 0.3)
OS: Ronconaghuey Moss (DC – 0.3)
DS (2): Allen Gerard (VAN – 0.4), Larry Yergeau (SAC – 0.4)
K: Tony Maloloyon (STL – 0.3)

Honorable Mentions are also being given for these players, who are expected to be major players on their roster and made good use of their time this pre-season.

QB’s Demarion Poole (SEA – 0.2) and Stan Kirby (WAC – 0.2) – These two young starting QB’s set a great example for their teammates coming in and making best use of their time in camp.
RBLB William Lee (OH – 0.3) – Lee will be in the starting lineup this year from day 1, and did nothing but assure Commando fans that he will excel in Hice’s old position.
DS’s JeQuavion Lawrence (DC – 0.3) and Ralph Lee (0.3 – FM) – These rookies will be getting some good time in the defensive backfield from day 1; Lawrence as the top backup on a contending DC roster, and Lee as a starter for the expansion/returning Fatmen. Their pre-season performance will give coaches, teammates and fans comfort that they can do well in this vital role.
The Blitz were the only team to have two players make the MIP Team roster. If you count the honorable mentions, then Vancouver Island would be joined by DC and Fort McMurray. While most of the MIP team will only see the field as reserves barring injury, multiple starters made the honorable mentions list, which has to have their coaches and owners pretty pleased.
Each week, 28 players were noted for their significant improvement. The results of the pre-season show that six players were recognized for their significant improvement in both weeks: QB Jim Holcombe, RBLB Art Tribbey, WRDB Ed Constineza, OLDL Robert Pauly, and DSs Allen Gerard and Larry Yergeau. All told, 50 players received this recognition during the pre-season. League insiders are curious to see how many of them make their respective rosters, and hope to determine how many of them made it (at least in part) due to the recognition.


Care to share your thoughts? Go to the OIFL Forum and share them with fans worldwide!

Entry Draft Round 1/2 Review

With the first two rounds down and the hunt for sleepers and hidden gems now about to begin I thought this was a good time to review the first two rounds of the entry draft. I decided to forgo grading here; with rookies it’s just too early to tell I think. Feel free to share your own thoughts.


Summary – Graves will need a little development to be a real contributor on the field, but in a couple years he could be a great player with some good camps. Fox might offer more immediate returns with a good rookie camp, and could be a nice addition to a young ascending WRDB roster.

Picks – RBDB Steve Graves, WRDB Gilbert Fox



Summary – Burtchaell could become a strong defender, and has the tools to contribute offensively. Could eventually play LB and DB. Holcombe is a different kind of QB from Albertini, but with training and focus could eventually be the heir apparent.

Picks – WRLB Larry Burtchaell, QB Jim Holcombe



Summary – Friedman will have some tackling issues, but could become a shutdown corner making it less of a concern. Will make some immediate contributions this year. Dulisse and Gaulke are good players to develop for the future.

Picks – WRDB Roger Friedman, OLDL John Dulisse, DS Bob Gaulke



Summary – DC focused on finding heirs for players who are beginning to get up there in age, and might have them with this class. Smyka might take O’Neill’s spot, and Lawrence & Moss will likely get some playing time off the bench.

Picks – DS JeQuavion Lawrence, QB Mark Kingseed, OS Ronconaghuey Moss, OLDL Sam Morris, OLDL Steven Czerwinski, K Stephen Smyka



Summary – Townley was a great conversion to OLDL. Kob will need some work but he has potential. Not sure if the roster will have room for Zaruka as a RB, but it could be worth a try to convert him as they did Townley.

Picks – RBLB (to OLDL) Richard Townley, WRLB Jemequaerion Kob, RBLB John Zaruka



Summary – Zilanawala is a good pick, but the Squirrels are loaded at RB. Still, I’m sure he fits into their plans or they wouldn’t have picked him. Kettelle has some growing to do on offense, but Evansville can afford to invest in him.

Picks – RBLB Amaro Zilanawala, OLDL Jim Kettelle



Summary – Osborn could be a star and should see the field this year. Phillips joins a pretty strong group of QBs, especially by expansion team standards. Could eventually take over for Walls.

Picks – WRDB Jim Osbon, QB Ken Phillips, DS Ralph Lee



Summary – Sochowicz will give the United more flexibility on defense, and Harding give them another young lineman to work on building up.

Picks – RBDB Don Sochowicz, OLDL Dale Harding



Summary – Huntington added good depth to their line here. Kern is an athletic lineman who could immediately step on the field. Taylor doesn’t have Kern’s athleticism but is a good leader and sound fundamentals. Both are good pieces for the future.

Picks – OLDL Robert Kern, OLDL Kaushik Taylor



Summary – Pauly will need to grow a bit on both sides of the line but a good camp could take care of that. Has the intangibles and athleticism to be great once his growing is done.

Picks – OLDL Robert Pauly



Summary – Graper is one of the best WRDB’s in this draft and should add some depth for the Lightning. Dowling is a great pick at the end of round 1. Munson likely needs to be a sleeper to make it.

Picks – WRDB Larry Graper, RBLB Myqual Dowling, OLDL Chuck Munson



Summary – It’s unlikely all of these RB’s make the roster, but they’ll have solid young depth at this position for sure. Pharr and Tolosa have a chance to make the roster, but Tolosa might be from the outside in.

Picks – RBLB Jack Jones, RBLB Derk Mattocks, WRDB John Pharr, RBDB Dan Albright, RBLB Chip Dennison, WRLB Carlos Tolosa, RBDB DeJuan Duffey





Summary – Maino is their QB of the future, and could potentially beat out Johns if they decide to make the future now. Arthur and Dolan will help add some young depth to the roster, and the experience will help them for the future.

Picks – QB Bob Maino, OLDL Jeff Arthur, RBLB Pat Dolan


NEW YORK: No Picks



Summary – Hagler gives them a future to replace Tyler. He might need some training but he won’t be needed this year.

Picks – OS Bud Hagler


OMAHA: No Picks



Summary – Osler has a group of vets to cover the starting lineup currently, so no one here NEEDS to play, but Tusing could contribute right away, at least on offense, and Brown gives some versatility with the ability to play TE as well as OLDL.

Picks – WRDB Jim Tusing, WRDB Donald McGill, OLDL John Brown



Summary – Philly was aggressive and got 4 first rounders, 5 in the top 40 and 7 total picks. The moves largely paid off, as they got some good picks here. Fortney I think will be the biggest contributor this year, but the others will make contributions in due time.

Picks – RBLB Rich Braskett, WRDB B Fortney, DS Jan Barnhill, OLDL Paul Alkaranafil, OS Gary Barrett, WRDB Kenneth Bush, WRDB Mywell Scott



Summary –

Picks – QB John Berger, OLDL Eltiden Long, WRDB Burt Maravich





Summary – Yergeau was a solid pick for the Rampage. With Hill beginning to get up there in age Yergeau could be an excellent replacement.

Picks – DS Larry Yergeau



Summary – The Rattlers saw some value in the receivers when their picks came. With Degan and Gentili getting into the aging part of their career some replacements will needed down the road. Knoy might get on the field first but Continenza will be the bigger star down the road.

Picks – WRDB Quan Knoy, WRDB Ed Continenza






ST LOUIS: No Picks


TEXAS: No Picks



Summary – The Blitz had 3 first rounders. Hamilton gives them another good young back, but he likely won’t see the field with Buchanan and Brawn ahead of him. Bergeron and McBride will need some more time to be field worthy but could be good players down the road.

Picks – RBDB Paul Hamilton, WRLB Bob Bergeron, DS Darby McBride



Summary – Childs could maybe make the rotation with a good camp this year. Snelson is making the switch to RB, and will need some speed work but could be good down the road. Haslet could be the best value pick, and will have time to develop behind a pretty good starting group.

Picks – OLDL Mark Childs, WRDB Bill Snelson, DS Tom Haslet



Summary – Harris will be a star in a few years with the right focus. Kinney will need to take some time but he has it right now. Good picks for a team with its best years ahead of it.

Picks – RBLB Foxwell Harris, WRDB Terry Kinney

Dispersal Draft Review

Thought I’d share my thoughts on how teams did in the dispersal draft. Feel free to share your own or comment on mine. I’ll likely also do a combined summary/review of Rounds 1 and 2 of the entry draft. Hope you enjoy!

Baltimore: Overall Grade – B+

Summary – Michael wasn’t the biggest name available, but this was a solid pick for a team that is building for the future as much as the present. He is talented now, and will be for a long time. He also bolsters a line that needs help if Beland and Gunn are to perform up to their capabilities. If Baltimore can lock him in long term this will go down as a strong pick.

Picks: OLDL Wade Michael

Chicago: Overall Grade – B-

Summary – With the players on the roster neither player is likely to see much playing time. Chavayda does give a talented young player to groom as a replacement for Fleming, Nash, or Graham who are all near or at the point of aging. A young trainable OLDL is always nice, but the Blues have a couple of them already so I wonder if they might have benefitted more from one of the vets available at the time. Overall though they are solid additions to the roster.

Picks: WRDB Ike Chavayda, OLDL Barry Sheldon

Denver: Overall Grade – C+

Summary – Cuff wasn’t the best overall OLDL available at the time in my opinion, but he is a solid pick for a new team looking to gather young talent to grow for the future. Westin, White and Sanchez continue that trend. Slevin is a pretty good value for where he was picked in the draft. Overall Denver may have left some talent on the board that could have helped them in the short term, but with the right moves in the future could be well off in the long term.

Picks: OLDL Charles Cuff, RBLB Willie Slevin, QB Eldriel White, OLDL Jordan Westin, WRDB Steve Sanchez

DC: Overall Grade – N/A

Summary – I’ll refrain from grading myself; anyone can feel free to judge my picks. I will say that Poley gave me some options to make moves on my OLDL without hurting overall talent too much, and Ward might be my RBLB of the future if I can keep him around long enough.

Picks: RBLB Grant Ward, OLDL Felton Poley

Eugene: Overall Grade – B+

Summary – Bieniek along with Ledbetter gives the Knights a strong young one-two punch at the RB position. Ledbetter was the only RB on the roster, so now with two the Knights may be poised to feature the running game more often. Was also a good value pick at #24.

Picks: RBLB J’Quan Bieniek

Evansville: Overall Grade – A-

Summary – Nothing but the OIFL Cup is good enough for the Fightin’ Squirrels, and with a roster beginning to age their time is now. Framed in that view especially, this is a great draft for Evansville. Both of these players provide strong depth and were among the most talented available later in the draft. If not for their age and contract values they would have gone much earlier.

Picks: OLDL Rasheed Daves, WRDB Doc Garrett

Fort McMurray: Overall Grade – A

Summary – The Fatmen had a great draft in my opinion. Walls was a great pick towards the end of the draft, and he with Kutchzinski and McMasters will slot right into the starting lineup and could stay there for a few years if contracts are renewed. Brown and Blevins give them some young receivers to develop in the future.

Picks: WRDB Gary Kutchzinski, OLDL Rozzy McMasters, QB Rusty Walls, WRLB John Brown, WRLB Tom Blevins

Fort Worth: No Picks

Huntsville: No Picks

Indianapolis: Overall Grade – A

Summary – Was one of the top players in the draft in a position of need for the Racers. Can’t argue against this pick in any way.

Picks: OLDL Mark Loiselle

Lincoln: Overall Grade – B+

Summary – Tomlinson is a good young lineman who happens to have a great long term contract. With a good camp or two he will be a fixture of the Lightning line for a long time.

Picks: OLDL Harry Tomlinson

London: No Pick

Los Angeles: Overall Grade – C+

Summary – Stoss is a pretty good young lineman, but with Mason getting up there in age and Franklin in the last year of his contract one of the RB’s could have been a better choice here. While young lineman are always good to have that is something the Matadors weren’t lacking coming into the draft.

Picks: OLDL Thomas Stoss

Maykop: Overall Grade – B+

Summary – Their first three picks currently would make up their starting lineup, and it’s not a bad group. With a good TC they could make a young respectable starting lineup. Nelson isn’t amazing in any one area, but could provide depth at WRDB, WRLB, and DS. For having no picks within the top 30, this was pretty good draft.

Picks: OLDL Daiki Takechi, OLDL Victor Shober, OLDL Gabriel Wilson, WRDB Stuart Nelson

New York: Overall Grade – B

Summary – The defending champs managed to get a quality player to help them defend the title. He’s a little aged and costly, but that isn’t a major concern here.

Picks: OLDL Bryant James

Ohio: Overall Grade – C+

Summary – With a DS group that is getting pretty old some reinforcing was needed here. While Clardy isn’t the youngest himself, he is talented which will help out in the short term while younger players are found and trained.

Picks: DS Troy Clardy

Omaha: Overall Grade – A+

Summary – Is there any argument about these picks? Maybe contract cost, but Omaha appears to be in a position to afford it.

Picks: OLDL Bill Steffey, WRDB Bernhard Schraeder

Osler: Overall Grade – A-

Summary – A couple years ago this would have been a stellar draft. This year it’s not stellar, it’s still pretty darn good. McPherson, LaCrosswell and Lewis will hold down the specialist positions for the immediate future. They’ll need replacing in a year or two, but for now they’ll help keep Osler respectable and competitive on the field. Daoust can provide help off the bench as a WRDB or DS.

Picks: QB Juan McPherson, WRDB Cyrell Daoust, DS Harold LaCrosswell, OS MiQuale Lewis

Philadelphia: Overall Grade – B+

Summary – With a much fuller roster than most new teams they had some flexibility in approaching this draft, but Philly still found some good players to add to the roster. Trudeau, Rhodes, and McGee are all good enough to possibly win spots in the starting lineup. If not, they should at least make solid contributions on the bench or fetch a decent trade return.

Picks: DS Walter Trudeau, K Tajik Rhodes, OLDL Speedy McGee

Portland: Overall Grade – B-

Summary – Pouliout is unlikely to break the starting lineup with Lowe on the roster, but he is a good young back who can provide solid depth off the bench and a little insurance in case something happens to Lowe. An argument could be made that OLDL would be the better way to go given a few older players on the roster in that spot.

Picks: RBLB Michael Pouliout

Ruidoso: Overall Grade – A+

Summary – This is a draft that could get the good people of Ruidoso excited about the new Kids on the block (sorry about that, couldn’t resist). Shanklin and Nowak instantly make this offense respectable on the ground and threatening through the air. They also will improve the defense. Right struggles with tackling but is pretty strong in coverage.

Picks: WRDB Jetta Shanklin, RBLB Burt Nowak, DS Diamante Right

Sacramento: Overall Grade – A

Summary – These two picks instantly make the Rampage a better team. Kenney is a star talent on both sides of the ball. Ginez isn’t on that level but will provide solid depth off the bench. This was also depth that they needed, so on the basis of need and value this is a win-win situation.

Picks: WRLB Joe Kenney, WRDB Stephan Ginez

San Antonio: Overall Grade – B+

Summary – His age and contract bring my grade down a little bit, but Thomas has the skills to potentially break into a pretty good starting lineup on a pretty good Rattlers squad. That makes it a pretty good pick for being about halfway down in the draft. That said, if older, costlier players were on the table there might have been some better ones available at the time.

Picks: OLDL Eric Thomas

San Francisco: Overall Grade – B+

Summary – I like this pick; he isn’t too old or too expensive and he has some talent to him. A good camp or two could push him from good to elite. If they can get him re-signed then this could be a real good pick.

Picks: OLDL Pumpkin Forest

Seattle: Overall Grade – C+

Summary – Seattle has plenty of people on the roster right now so need is tough to quantify here. There are a couple players I would call a better value at this time, but not many.

Picks: RBLB Michael D. Brake

St. Louis: Overall Grade – B

Summary – Given the ages of Maugham, Cruise and Kettlewell, Johnson meets a need pretty well. Given his talent compared to his age and contract the value of the pick is also pretty good.

Picks: DS Curtis Johnson

Texas: No Pick

Vancouver Island: Overall Grade – A

Summary – Both of these are excellent picks for a young roster like the Blitz. Henderson is nearing elite status in terms of talent, and Simpson is a young player with a lot of potential who could be real good in a couple years. With young players the key is keeping them around long enough to benefit from their growth.

Picks: OLDL DaQuan Henderson, WRDB Miquel Simpson

Waco: Overall Grade – A+

Summary – Yates gives Kirby an elite target to throw to, which the Warriors truly need. He’s beginning to get up there in age but will be a top talent for at least the length of his contract (which might be just a year, but could be more). By modern standards the contract is not even that bad. Great pick for them.

Picks: WRDB Eric Yates

Wisconsin: Overall Grade – A

Summary – If they lose him after this year it’s still a decent pick, as he’ll be a major boost on defense this year. If they can sign him to a long term deal, this becomes a great pick. He is not yet overvalued, so they’ll hope to keep him that way, and he has his best years ahead of him which is a great sign as he’s already close to being an elite DS.

Picks: DS Ryan Potter

What do you think of the draft? Feel free to comment or discuss on our message boards!

The Coaching Shuffle Begins

With the playoffs underway, a story line that has nothing to do with what will happen on the field this weekend is beginning to unfold, as coaches begin hitting the unemployment line and looking for new homes.

The past week it was announced that long time head coach of the St. Louis Rush Kelvin Anderson resigned his position, with no announced plans for his future. The San Antonio Rattlers also parted ways with Offensive Coordinator Bruce Malloy. Following their parting ways with the league Kansas City’s coaching staff is available, and additional moves are also rumored, though sources cannot comment on any specific teams at this time.

As the playoffs continue to play out, it is possible that more moves will be announced by teams who haven’t been eliminated. Teams who are could make the decision to change their staffs, possibly to take advantage of moves made by other teams.

This process starts at a good time for the newly announced Osler Rebels, who now have a solid group of coaching candidates to choose from as they begin to staff their franchise.

Battle of Unbeatens Lives Up to Hype

When the 11-0 DC Conspiracy traveled to Austin to face the 11-0 Texas Terrors, fans of the OIFL the world over were eager with anticipation. Rarely does pro football get to see a battle of unbeaten teams this close to the post season. The commission himself was quoted calling the game “one of the bigger “record-wise” regular season games on record”. Coming into the game both teams had strong victories and were looking on top of their game, and it showed on the field. Texas and DC were the numbers 2 and 3 ranked teams respectively for average points allowed (Kansas City being #1), so many expected a lower scoring game by indoor football standards. In that respect the game lived up to expectations. On one of the first plays of the game saw DC score a safety after Van Nostran recovered a fumble in the endzone and was tackled. This play- which cost Texas start RBLB Markelle Cox for the game with a concussion- set the tone for a tough defensive struggle which ultimately led to a 32-30 final in favor of DC.

That is not to say the game lacked big plays on offense; there was too much talent on the field to contain for the whole game. After the initial setback, Texas was able to score the first two touchdowns, the 2nd of which was run by RBDB Moulton Coulier. After DC worked back into it Texas reclaimed the lead with a Jet Sweep TD run by former Conspiracy WRDB Achilles Bryon. DC then responded with a 9 yard run to the endzone by RBLB Corey Palso. Palso later added another TD run from 20 yards out, which Texas answered with a 20 yard pass when Nostran hooked up with his former Boston teammate Norm Whittington. From there, it became a battle of the kickers.

DC had a short field goal blocked. Texas then completed a 47 yard attempt, but a false start took it back and K Gary Hoffert couldn’t connect from 50 on the next attempt. This gave DC another chance, which K Brian O’Neill used to redeem himself from the blocked attempt by converting from 28 yards out with 2 seconds on the clock to take the go-ahead lead. A DC squib kick ran out the clock to finish off the game.

One team that had to be watching very closely was Kansas City, who after this week remains one of two undefeated teams following a win against expansion Indianapolis. While the Tigers will not play either team in the regular season, both are potential playoff foes- though to face Texas both teams would need to make to the OIFLCup. Another team watching closely was likely Evansville, who will be facing both DC and Kansas City in the coming weeks and could have a major say in how the East playoffs shape up. San Antonio also had a major interest, as the Texas loss helps to keep them alive in the race to win the Southwest division, though Texas would need to falter a couple more times for the Rattlers to overtake them.

Moving forward, the Conspiracy will be taking on their divisional and geographic rival Baltimore Breakers in DC’s Oculus Center, and Texas continues their home-stand against the Vancouver Island Blitz