Florida Firecats af2 football team
Florida Firecats af2 football team Florida Firecats af2 football team Florida Firecats af2 football team Florida Firecats af2 football team Florida Firecats af2 football team Florida Firecats af2 football team Florida Firecats af2 football team Florida Firecats af2 football team Florida Firecats af2 football team Florida Firecats af2 football team
Firecats News

2007-05-30

A Look Across the Field at the Alabama Steeldogs

Team management hoped that changing the name from the Birmingham Steeldogs to the Alabama Steeldogs would help the team begin to write a new chapter in the arenafootball2 history books. So far this season, it appears to have had some effect. With a 5-3 record, the Steeldogs currently sit in 2nd place in the National Conference South Division; ahead of the Florida Firecats.

Head Coach Ron Selesky is in his 2nd year with the Steeldogs after guiding them to a 7-9 record in 2006, just missing the playoffs. In 2002 he was named af2 Coach of the Year after leading the then expansion Albany Conquest to a 13-3 record.

Steeldogs signal caller #9 Mitch Tanney has thrown for 1456 yards and 34 TD’s so far this season. QB Robert Kent, who began the season as Alabama’s starter, was traded to Lubbock in week 4 for Southwest Florida native and former Firecat #12 Justin Midgett.

Alabama suffered a big loss early when receiver Mareno Philyaw went down with a knee injury, but #22 Jon Olinger and #1 Brad Chavez have picked up the slack snaring 11 & 10 TD catches respectively. At 6-5 Olinger could cause match-up problems with the Firecats shorter defensive backs especially in the red-zone where the Steeldogs rank 2nd in the af2, scoring on 31 of 35 trips close to the goal line.

On the defensive side of the ball the Steeldogs are led by defensive backs #3 Ronnie Dillon and #7 Willie Smith. Dillon leads the team with 40 tackles and 2 interceptions. Upfront lineman #51 Eric Scott and his team leading 7 sacks and 9 tackles for a loss, will look to put pressure on the Firecats offensive line.

The Steeldogs have won 3 of their last 4 including a 65-33 road win last week over the expansion Cincinnati Jungle Kats; Alabama’s 1st road win of the year. The winner of this game will solidify 2nd place within the division. Florida leads the all-time series 6 to 3 and has won the last 5 in a row.

A name change has given the Steeldogs a new identity with their fans, but has this old dog learned enough new tricks to de-claw the Firecats and pickup their 1st win over their divisional foes since May of 2004?