The second edition of the Atlanta Steam will be unveiled on Saturday night as the Legends Football League team travels to Toledo to take on the Crush in Week 5 of the LFL 2014 season. Not only will this be the opener for both clubs, but it is the first home game for the Toledo franchise after the team relocated from Cleveland following the 2013 season. The Crush now call Huntington Center home.
Atlanta won the Southeastern Division of the Eastern Conference last season but due to realignment of divisions as a result of reducing the number of teams from 12 to 10, the division no longer exists. The LFL now consists of two conferences, Eastern and Western, that have five teams each-there are no divisions.
Despite being led offensively by a pair of rookie playmakers, Atlanta has nine returning players on their projected 14 player roster compared to two for Toledo. As with most things in life, experience makes a difference and the Steam have an edge in that category.
Dakota Hughes, a 19-year old rookie quarterback, will be running an offense that will depend a great deal on another rookie, running back Nish Salter, who is going to be counted on to pick up yards in big chunks. For Atlanta to establish a passing game, the ground game must be a threat.
First-year head coach Dane Robinson took some time out of a busy week to share his thoughts on Atlanta’s months of preparation.
Robinson believes that the team that “has prepared better will out-execute the opponent“and he is passionate in his belief that Atlanta will emerge victorious.
“This team is as prepared as they are going to be and their hard work, long nights of studying film and on the field sweat will be validated with a victory against Toledo.”
Another big part of Atlanta’s preparation has been repetition. Coach Robinson said that, while boring to outsiders, his practices for the last few weeks have “simply been call the play, run the play, call the play, run the play, call the play, run the play at 100% effort and execution.”
While rookies can be inconsistent, especially early in the season, Atlanta has veteran leadership and has prepared using last season’s experience as a guide. As a result, the 2014 squad that takes the field on Saturday will be much tougher to beat than the 2013 version.
This will be a back and forth contest, but look for the Steam to take control in the second half and head back to Atlanta 1-0.
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