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Philadelphia Soul game notes

February 7, 2006 - Arena Football League (1987-2008) (AFL I) Philadelphia Soul

SOUL @ PREDATORS: THE FACTS


Date: Saturday, February 11, 2006
Kickoff: 7:30 PM
Site: TD Waterhouse Centre (Orlando, FL)
Officials: Referee: Pat Garvey, Head Linesman: Paul King, Line Judge: Mike McCabe, Back Judge: Wayne Mackie, Umpire: Dino Paganelli

THE GAME CAN BE HEARD...

On SportsTalk950 in Philadelphia with Ari Wolfe handling play-by-play.

THE GAME CAN BE SEEN...

On Comcast SportsNet (TAPE DELAYED IN PHILADELPHIA) at 10:30 p.m. and live on INHD with play-by-play being handled by Eli Gold, color analyst Charles Davis and Matt Stewart as sideline reporter.

THE SERIES - SOUL VS. PREDATORS
1-0
This will be the second meeting between the teams since the inception of the Philadelphia Soul franchise in 2004. Last season, the Soul topped the Predators in Week 14, 64-60 at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

If the Soul win, it would
- Give the Soul a 2-0 record vs. the Predators
- Give the Soul a 3-0 overall record
- Give the Soul a 1-0 road record

SOUL @ PREDATORS
BY THE NUMBERS

Statistical SOUL PREDATORS
Category Rank Stat Rank Stat
Offensive/Points/Game 8 49.5 14 39.5
Defense/Points/Game 2 33.5 6 44.5
Total Offense 11 267.0 14 236.5
Total Defense 12 288.5 17 308.0
Passing Net Yards/Game 12 226.5 16 199.0
Passing Net Yards/Allowed 14 264.5 17 296.0
Rushing Yards/Game 3 81 3 75
Rushing Defense 5t 48 3 24
Sacks By 4 85 9 94
Sacks Against 1t 0 1t 0
3rd Down Conversion % 7 50.0 13 38.5
Opponent 3rd Down Conversion % 10 42.9 8 41.2

THE SOUL'S GAME vs. Los Angeles

Offensive Player of the Game: Matt Sauk, Philadelphia
ADT Defensive Player of the Game: Ernest Allen, Philadelphia
ARMY Ironman of the Game: Kevin Ingram, Los Angeles

PHILADELPHIA - Matt Sauk threw a touchdown pass on his first play in relief of injured starter Tony Graziani and finished with three scoring strikes to help the Philadelphia Soul beat the Avengers, 47-33, on Sunday.

Sauk, who went 17 of 29 for 147 yards and three touchdowns, took over for Graziani on the Soul's first drive of the game after the left-hander dislocated his left index finger in a fall on Avengers lineman Silas Dermary's hit.

On Sauk's first career play for the Soul, he threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Mike Brown. The former Utah State quarterback also threw TD passes to Marcus Knight and Chad Dukes. Knight led the Soul (2-0) in receiving with six catches for 70 yards.

Brian Mann was 24for 43 for 270 yards and four touchdowns for the Avengers (1-1). Kevin Ingram caught eight passes for 132 yards and three TDs.
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 SCORE
Los Angeles 7 6 7 13 33
Philadelphia 14 13 13 7 47

THE COACHES


Brett Munsey (First Season)

Bret Munsey becomes the third head coach for the Philadelphia Soul, as the organization heads into its third season in 2006. With an extensive coaching background, this will be Munsey's first head coaching position in the League.

Munsey, 37, joins the Soul after serving on Orlando's staff for three seasons under Jay Gruden. After joining the Predators in 2003 and serving as the team's offensive coordinator and wide receivers/defensive backs coach, he was promoted to assistant head coach in August of 2003. This role also included his director of player personnel and defensive coordinator roles throughout the last two seasons.

In 2005 the Predators finished with a 10-6 regular season record and lost in the conference finals to the Georgia Force. The team ranked third in the League in scoring defense (47.2 ppg), fifth in total defense (269.2 ypg) and second in pass rating defense (98.9).

In his role as defensive coordinator, Munsey organized Orlando's defensive game plans and served as defensive backs coach. His 2004 defense ranked first in the league in scoring defense (43.1), total defense (236.8 ypg) and pass rating defense (95.7).

The Soul look to capitalize on Munsey's defensive knowledge. Philadelphia was the worst in the League against the run last season, allowing 576 yards. They also allowed the second most touchdowns in the League and made the least amount of tackles. Cutting down on stats like these are Munsey's top priority.

In his role as assistant head coach, Munsey handled several administrative duties for the Predators -- including planning and conducting training camp, tryouts and player housing. He was also in charge of recruiting and handled contract compliance with the League.

In his first season with the Predators, Munsey served as offensive coordinator and coached the wide receivers and defensive backs.

Munsey came to the Predators from the Carolina Cobras, where he served as defensive coordinator. Under his guidance, the Cobras were ranked in the top five in the Arena Football League in many defensive categories and came within one play of earning a spot in the semifinals.

Prior to his stint in Carolina, Munsey served as head coach and director of football operations for the Tennessee Valley Vipers of the af2. During his first season as a head coach, Munsey led his team to a 14-2 regular season record (15-3 overall). His defense ranked in the top five in all major categories and three defensive players were named to the "All-af2" team.

Following that outstanding season, Munsey was named "af2 Coach of the Year" in a vote by his peers.

Munsey began his coaching career with the Augusta Stallions of af2 in 2000. As defensive coordinator, he helped the Stallions to a 13-3 record and an American Conference Championship. Augusta's defense was one of only three defenses in the 16-team league to allow less than 600 points in the 16-game season. In addition, Munsey's defense ranked in the top five in total defense (4th), pass defense (5th), rushing defense (4th), first downs allowed (1st), and turnover margin (2nd). Three of his players were named to the first unit of the All-af2 team.

Prior to becoming a coach, Munsey was an Orlando Predators player. He appeared on the team's active roster in 1991, catching two passes for 29 yards. He would spend parts of the next four seasons (1992-95) on the Orlando's practice roster.

Munsey played college football at Concord College, a NCAA Division II institution located in West Virginia. A standout wide receiver, he led his team in receiving in three of his four years and was an All-West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference selection. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Concord and served as a graduate assistant coach for the team in 1991.

A native of Orlando, Munsey was born August 19, 1968 and attended Winter Park High School.


Jay Gruden (16th Season)


Fifteen seasons in the Arena Football League. Fifteen seasons in the playoffs. Seven trips to the ArenaBowl. Six championship rings. An average of 10.8 wins per season. Whether as a head coach, player or offensive coordinator, Jay Gruden's name has been synonymous with success in the Arena Football League.

Gruden began his AFL career as a quarterback with the Tampa Bay Storm in 1991. In six seasons as a starter, he led the Storm to an unprecedented four ArenaBowl titles under three different head coaches. A two-time All-Arena selection and the 1992 MVP, Gruden would throw for more than 15,000 yards and 280 touchdowns in leading the Storm to six consecutive playoff appearances.

After capturing his second consecutive championship and fourth title overall with the Storm in 1996, Gruden abruptly retired to enter the coaching ranks. Working as offensive coordinator for the expansion Nashville Kats, Gruden helped that first-year team to playoffs while the team compiled an impressive 10-4 regular season record. It was the first time in league history that an expansion team won 10 games.

A few months later, Gruden, 30, became the youngest head coach in the Arena Football League when the Orlando Predators hired him to replace the legendary Perry Moss - who retired after nearly 50 years in the coaching profession.

Gruden's impact on the Predators was immediate. After a 9-5 regular season mark, Gruden guided the Predators to a pair of playoff wins to set up an ArenaBowl match-up with top-seeded Tampa Bay. Although the Storm came into the game with a 14-2 record and were prohibitive 14-point favorites, Gruden delivered Orlando's first ArenaBowl championship with an incredible 62-31 win over the Storm.

He would set league history one season later. After a 7-7 injury riddled season, Gruden became the first coach in AFL history to take a number eight seed to the ArenaBowl as Orlando recorded stunning road upsets over top-seeded Tampa Bay (41-19) and second-seeded Iowa (48-41).


2006 SEASON

Offensive Player of the Game
Week Opp. Player
1 TB Tony Graziani (PHI)
2 LA Matt Sauk (PHI)


ADT Defensive Player of the Game
Week Opp. Player
1 TB Kevin Gaines (PHI)
2 LA Ernest Allen (PHI)

Army Ironman of the Game
Week Opp. Player
1 TB Sean Scott (PHI)
2 LA Kevin Ingram (LAA)



MILESTONE WATCH

PLAYER MILESTONE CURRENT NUMBER TO GO
Tony Graziani 400 Touchdown Passes 362 38
17,000 Passing Yards 16,944 56
Kevin Gaines 500 Total Tackles 433.5 66.5

Also:
-Tony Graziani is the only quarterback in League's history to throw 90 or more touchdown passes in three consecutive seasons.
-Kevin Gaines is ranked ninth all-time in the Arena Football League in total tackles (433.5) and is sixth all-time in interceptions (36).


SOUL'S NOTES AND TRENDS


DON'T I KNOW YOU FROM SOMEWHERE?
Head coach Bret Munsey will challenge his former team, the Orlando Predators, for the first time this Sunday, February 11 at the TD Waterhouse Center. Coach Munsey was on the Predator's active roster in 1991 and spent the next four seasons (1992-1995) on Orlando's practice squad. He ended up joining the team's coaching staff in 2003 and was with them until 2005. As a member of the active roster in '91, he caught two passes for 29 yards.
HOMECOMING
Headed to their old stomping grounds of Orlando are current Soul players OL/DL Earnest Allen (2000-03), WR/DB Michael Brown (2004-05), OL/DL EJ Burt (2003-05), OL/DL Cecil Caldwell (2004-05), DS Reggie Doster (2002-03, 05) and DS Kevin Gaines (1998-99). Allen is the only member of the Soul roster to be apart of the ArenaBowl XIV Orlando Predators in 2000.

PHILLY GUYS
FB/LB Kevin Nagle and OL/DL Jim Sodano of the Orlando Predators are two teammates who are graduates of East Strausburg that will face the Soul this Sunday in Orlando.
AN EAGLE FLIES IN ORLANDO
OL/DL Kevin Johnson of the Orlando Predators played for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1996 and recorded 37 total tackles with a quarterback sack and eight quarterback hurries.
LUCKY #13
The Soul let up only 33 points against the Avengers last week which is the second lowest in team history (31 - vs. Dallas, 4/4/2004) and 13 in the first half, tying a team record that was also tied during Week 1 when the Soul played the Tampa Bay Storm. The original record was set against the New Orleans VooDoo on February 8, 2004.
DUKES OF HAZZARD
FB/LB Chad Dukes caught his first touchdown pass since 1998 while he was with the now defunct Albany Firebirds.
PLATEAU
Tony Graziani is only 56 yards away from surpassing 17,000 passing yards for his career. He has tallied 306 yards this season despite going down with an injury to his index finger on his throwing hand (left) during the second game of the season.
SAUK IT TO ME
With Graziani going down in the first quarter last week against the Avengers, backup quarterback Matt Sauk came in for his first action in the AFL since 2002 when he was Graziani's backup in Los Angeles. Last week, he connected on 17-of-29 passes for 147 yards with three touchdowns despite one interception.
MAYBE OR MAYBE NOT
Graziani went down last week against the Avengers with a dislocated left index finger during the first drive of the game and was questionable for his return. He ended up not returning to action and is listed as probable versus the Predators this week.
TAKE THE PITCH
After recovering a missed field goal attempt by Avengers kicker Remy Hamilton, Mike Brown took the ball off the net and returned it to the Los Angeles 20-yard line before pitching it to his right side to DS Kevin Gaines. Gaines ran down the left side of the field for the score and for the Soul's first special teams touchdown of the season.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
At last Sunday's game against the Avengers, Kevin Gaines, Sean Scott, Michael Brown, Wes Ours, Chad Dukes and Marcus Knight of the Soul all pitched in to help break the teams record for most players to score a touchdown in a single game in team history.

FROM BEHIND THE ARC
Kicker Todd France has connected on 11-of-12 extra points and converted 3-of-6 field goal attempts. Two weeks ago, against the Tampa Bay Storm, he nailed a field goal from 49-yards out and this past week against the Avengers, he made one from 51-yards and another from 35-yards.

THE FIRST TIME
The Soul won there first two games of the season for the first time since coming into the League in 2004.

ROAD WORRIES
Since the inaugural season in 2004, Philadelphia has combined for a 4-12 record on the road. Last season, they finished 2-6.

THE GOOD OL' DAYS
Predator's kicker Jay Taylor and current Soul FB/LB Wes Ours played together while at the University of West Virginia. They played together from 1996-‘99.

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Arena Football League (1987-2008) Stories from February 7, 2006


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