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Murray Ready for Season Opener

March 23, 2004 - arenafootball2 (af2) - Central Valley Coyotes News Release

Editor's Note: One of the most significant moves the Coyotes made during the 2004 off-season was acquiring Doug Murray as defensive coordinator. Murray spent the pas two seasons at UC Davis as the secondary coach.

In Central Valley, Murray inherits a defense that finished 3rd in the af2 last season. The team also acquired talented players in the off-season, including linebacker Kevin Nelson, defensive specialists Kalangi Muatututia, and Jermaine Smith to add to the veteran leadership of defensive end Ricky Leung-Wai, defensive specialist Von Keith Spencer and linebacker Howard Maxwell

As the Coyotes get ready to take on the Islanders Saturday at Selland Arena, editor Anthony Martinez spoke with Murray about how the defense is shaping up heading into the season opener. Murray’s comments will appear regularly on throughout the 200 season.

After a pretty good training camp how are you feeling heading into week one?

“I think we are getting a little bit better at understanding the game itself, especially the coaches like myself who are less experienced then others. I think we have a very good core group of players that have experience, who we will rely heavily on, to get us through this week. I think we should go in very confident that we can be successful.”

Obviously the secondary is a strong point in the defense, how does that factor into the defensive scheme this year?

“I believe we are pretty well stocked in the secondary, but I don’t know for sure how well we will respond. In this league you have to have pressure the quarterback or the secondary is at a disadvantage. But given that we have the type of skill and ability back there [in the secondary] we will rely heavily on the experience guys to follow through on what we believe will be a good set of players.”

You inherit a defense that has finished in the top ten for the past two years, and third overall last season. How do you fill those shoes?

“Well I’m not sure if I can fill them right away, I hope that the players can pick up that slack, if we can come anywhere close to that, I believe that with our offensive capacity we will do well.”

What is your feeling opening the season at home?

“It is really comforting, when you have a team like Hawaii or any other team at this level coming into your turf. It gives you a little confidence knowing that you don’t have to worry about all the other problems of playing a power house like Hawaii with travel as well.”

You face the Hawaiian Islanders, the 2003 West Division champions in Week 1, what’s it like facing a tough opponent to start the season?

“Sometimes it is better to play the quality teams early before they really get balanced, however we will be going into every game feeling confident that we can play well and if we get a break or two who knows what can happen?”

Possibly facing Darnell Arceneaux this week, how do you contain a guy like that?

“I’m not sure you can. I have seen him play in college and I know what kind of athlete and leader he is. I think we will just let the game plan dictate what we do according to him. I’m not sure if there is any game plan that you can have at this level that can stop the quarterback and at the same time sure yourself up in the secondary. We do have a game plan for him but we won’t know for sure what he will be doing and how he will be doing it. So I don’t think there is any way you can contain or control him, we just have to play a good all-around game.”

NFL Legend Bill Walsh will be attending the Coyotes opener, what does that mean to you?

“Any time a legend like that comes in, it gives the game more meaning and the feeling that there is something special going on. It will certainly be an honor and privilege to spend time with Coach Walsh.”

3/4 of the schedule is against divisional opponents how does that factor on the importance of each game?

“That is kind of exciting, every game becomes a little more important then as if it was against a non-divisional opponent. One of the advantages and also disadvantages in doing that is that you play each other four times and you are able to get accustomed to their style of play. Then it’s a matter of making a few slight adjustments that they might not be aware of, but I think it is really exciting.”

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