March 21, 2007 - United Indoor Football Association (UIF)
Lexington Horsemen Head Coach, Mike Zuckerman, feels character and chemistry are part of the equation in good football players and teams. He says they look for players that are good guys to start with and can mesh with others to make the best use of their athletic ability. That seems to be the recipe for the perennial playoff team. "It\'s worked so far for us and we hope to maintain that."
The Horsemen have maintained some key veterans-something else Zuckerman likes. He says the strength to the Horsemen over the years has been the ability to keep a core bunch of veterans. "By us doing that, we keep a lot of experience coming back year to year," he said. Wide receivers Harry Lewis and Chad Spencer, both First Team All-UIF selections return. Spencer scored a record 29 touchdowns last season, a mark he has challenged himself to break this year. In the backfield, Dieontea Stewart returns. He came on as a standout running back midway through last season, picking up 11 touchdowns and averaging 70.5 all-purpose yards per game. Going into training camp, Zuckerman knew he needed to fill some offensive line positions since a few Horsemen players moved up to the AFL and CFL. To head the offense, he\'s looking for Kewan Dewberry to fill the quarterback spot.
Zuckerman will take over the offensive play calling duties this year while assistant Mike Harmon becomes Defensive Coordinator. Zuckerman also gets a new coach-one he answers to in the front office. Former UIF star Anthony "Champ" Kelly has traded his pads for pinstripes as he takes over as General Manager. Additionally Kelly will serve as an assistant coach. Zuckerman says he\'ll miss Champ being his coach on the field but knows he\'ll do a great job from the sidelines.
Shaun Jones returns as a dual threat. Last season he rushed the ball 59 times and contributed to the defense with 13 tackles, a forced fumble and three kick returns.
The defensive backfield remains strong with William "Agent" Mulder and J.T. Haskins. The dynamic defender Mulder is the record holder for interceptions and kick return average. The Special Teams MVP has been selected twice to the All-UIF First Team. Zuckerman says of the two veterans, "When you got guys like that, they know the game and they can help the new guys who come in."
Earven Flowers was a four-year letterman at the University of Kentucky. He also earned All Southeast Conference honors in college. Zuckerman expects him to be part of the chemistry.
Key match ups for the Horsemen include the first home game April 7th against the Evansville Bluecats, giving Lexington fans their first look at this season\'s team. The date that every Horsemen fan, player and staff member has circled on the calendar, though, is the June 23rd home game against the Sioux Falls Storm. Dubbed "The Rematch," the Horsemen will look to avenge their loss in the 2006 United Bowl in this budding rivalry. This game will set the tone for the Horsemen as they begin their 2007 playoff march.
Audio preview: http://unitedindoorfootball.com.ismmedia.com/ISM2//MultimediaManager/1951.mp3
Tomorrow: Our final preview as we look at the Sioux Falls Storm.