New Orleans VooDoo game notes
QUICK FACTS New Orleans VooDoo (2-0) vs. Georgia Force (1-1) Site: The Arena at Gwinnett Center (11,200) Radio: WWL (870-AM) Chris Kenyon and Ashley Ambrose TV: NBC Sports (Ch. 6 in New Orleans) MIke Pawlaski, Allen Bestwick Coaches: New Orleans: Mike Neu (1st Season in New Orleans, 2nd season overall, 8-8, regular season; 1-2 postseason); Georgia: Marty Lowe (3rd season in Ga., 15- 14 overall, 1-1 postseason)
New Orleans VooDoo Travel To Georgia For Southern Conference Contest
The VooDoo will open Southern Division play when they travel to Georgia to face the Force on Sunday, February 22 at the Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga. The VooDoo come to Georgia after winning their inaugural opener at the New Orleans Arena over the Indiana Firebirds, 41-40. FB/LB Dan Curran spurred the victory when he swept over the goal line from two yards out with no time remaining to tie the score, followed by K Brian Schmitz nailing the extra point in front of a crowd of14,236 at the New Orleans Arena. OS Aaron Bailey caught eight passes for 140 yards with two TDs. QB John Fitzgerald was 16-of-35 passing for 222 yards with three TDs. Curran rushed for two scores. Defensively, DS Chris Pointer led the VooDoo with 5.5 tackles and two passes defensed while OL/DL B.J. Cohen added two tackles, a tackle for a loss and one pass defense.
Following the contest at Georgia, the VooDoo will go on the road again to face Las Vegas Gladiators on Sunday, February 29 at 2 p.m. for the VooDoos first trip west.
PRACTICE AND MEDIA SCHEDULE
Monday, Feb. 16
2:00 p.m. Head Coach Mike Neu Available
Tuesday, Feb. 17 No Availability
Wednesday, Feb. 18
9:40 - 11:30 a.m. Practice
11:30 a.m. Coach Neu/Players Available
Thursday, Feb. 19
9:40 - 11:30 a.m. Practice
11:30 a.m. Players Available
12:05 p.m. Coach Neu in Press Workroom
Friday, Feb. 20
9:40 - 11:30 a.m. Practice
11:30 a.m. Coach Neu/Players Available
Saturday, Feb. 21 Travel to Georgia
NEW ORLEANS VooDoo (2-0) Date Opponent Time Result Feb. 8 at Philadelphia 2 p.m. 42-34 Feb. 14 vs. INDIANA 2 p.m. 41-40 Feb. 22 at Georgia 2 p.m. Feb. 29 at Las Vegas 2 p.m. Mar. 7 TAMPA BAY 11a.m. Mar. 12 DETROIT 7 p.m. Mar. 18 at Arizona 8 p.m. Mar. 27 CAROLINA 7 p.m. Apr. 2-4 Bye Weekend Apr. 9 at Orlando 6:30 p.m. Apr. 18 COLUMBUS 2 p.m. Apr. 25 at Austin 2 p.m. May 1 at San Jose 9:30 p.m. May 9 ORLANDO 2 p.m. May 15 GEORGIA 7 p.m. May 23 at Tampa Bay 2 p.m. May 30 AUSTIN 3 p.m.
For updated news, press releases, statistics, rosters, players, coach and front office biographies, ticket information, merchandise, photo galleries and New Orleans VooDoo Dolls information, go to the official website of the New Orleans VooDoo, www.GoVooDoo.com. Updated daily, www.GoVooDoo.com has the most extensive information on the VooDoo and the Arena Football League.
Mike Neu: Neu is the first head coach of the New Orleans VooDoo. Neu is a six-year Arena coaching veteran, coming to the VooDoo after serving as head coach of the AFL Carolina Cobras in 2002. That season, Neu guided the Cobras to a 5-2 record on the road and their second-straight postseason berth. Prior to joining Carolina, Neu served as Head Coach and Director of Football Operations for the Augusta Stallions of af2 in 2000. He led Augusta to a 14-4 record, the American Conference title and was named the leagues Coach of the Year. Neu began his coaching career in 1994 as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Ball State. His pro playing career started with a stint with the CFL Calgary Stampeders in 1995 before joining the AFLs Orlando Predators in 1996 and moving on to the Nashville Kats in 1997.
Neu played four seasons at Ball State, where he was named the MAC Most Valuable Player of the Year as a senior in 1993. A four-year starter, Neu guided Ball State to the conference championship his final year and holds school career passing records in yards, attempts, completions and touchdown passes.
Neu and his wife, Charmin, have a daughter, Graycen and a son, Carson.
Marty Lowe: Lowe concluded his second season and first full year as Head Coach with the Georgia Force in 2003, guiding the team to a record eight wins and leading the club to its first postseason appearance. At 32 years old, Lowe is the youngest head coach in the AFL. Prior to joining the Force, Lowe served as running backs coach for UTEP. Lowes coaching career in the AFL started when he joined the Nashville Kats as an offensive assistant in March 2000 after spending three seasons as an assistant coach at the Louisville. Lowe, who played quarterback at Louisville from 1991-95 and spent two seasons in the Arena Football League. He played quarterback for the Texas Terrors. He was a starter for Texas until a knee injury ended his playing career.
VooDoo - Force Connections
Coach Mike Neu served as both a player and coach for the Nashville Kats from 1997-1999, prior to the franchises move to Georgia. Neu also served as head coach and director of football operations for the af2 Augusta Stallions in 2000 and he was named the leagues Coach of the Year after posting a 14-4 record...Line Coach Junior Ili served on the same staff with Force coach Marty Lowe in Nashville in 2000 and was a teammate of Lowes with the St. Louis Stampede in 1996. Ili also coached Georgia assistant head coach Bob Kronenberg in Nashville from 1999- 2000...Defensive Coordinator Kevin Porter prepped at Warner Robins HS and served as head coach of the af2 Macon Knights from 2001-2003, where he posted a 45-27 record...Special Teams Coordinator/Offensive Assistant Tres Sullivan spent the past two seasons as the offensive coordinator of the af2 Macon Knights...QB Jermaine Alfred, WR/DB Lamont Moore and Georgia WR/LB Morris Anderson were teammates at Baylor. Alfred played for the af2 Macon Knights in 2003...OS Aaron Bailey and Force coach Marty Lowe and DS Kevin Gaines were teammates at the University of Louisville...Bailey and Gaines were also teammates in Carolina in 2002 and Gaines went to training camp with the New Orleans Saints in 1995...OL/DL B.J. Cohen prepped at Cedar Grove HS in Conley...FB/LB Dan Curran, OL/DL Bruce McClure and OL/DL Adam Metts were teammates in Georgia...McClure and Georgia OL/DL Matt ONeal were college teammates at Oklahoma...FB/LB Mario Evans played for the af2 Macon Knights in 2003....QB John Fitzgerald and OL/DL Tim Martin played with Georgia WR/LB Diallelo Burks and WR/LB Andy McCullough with the Dallas Desperados in 2003. McCullough was originally a seventh round pick of the Saints in 1998. Burks and DS Chris Pointer were college teammates at Eastern kentucky...WR/LB Tremaine Neal went to training camp with Georgia in 2003 and played with the af2 Macon Knights from 2001-03...Georgia quality control coach Wade Patrick is an LSU graduate...Georgia DS Robert Williams played for the Saints in 1999...DB/WR Luke Leverson and Force WR/LB Jermaine Younger were teammates with the New England Sea Wolves and the Toronto Phantoms from 2000-02...Georgia Defensive Backs Coach Rob Davis and OL/DL Dary Myricks, Marcus Keyes and Juan Porter played for Neu in Carolina, where they were teammates with Bailey, Fitzgerald and Schmitz...Force OL/DL Gillis Wilson is the nephew of former Saints RB Dalton Hillard, prepped at Patterson HS and was a first-team All-SWAC selection at Southern
VooDoo on the Airwaves
VooDoo and AFL fans will enjoy plenty of chances to watch the newest team in New Orleans both live and on various on radio and television programs throughout the 2004 season.
Every game will be heard on WWL-AM 870 or WSMB-AM 1350. Chris Kenyon will handle play-by-play . Various local celebrities and selected Saints coaches, players and front office personnel will serve as color analysts. Saints CB Ashley Ambrose will handle color for this weeks game. WWL will also broadcast a weekly coaches show with Head Coach Mike Neu on Tuesday evenings from 9 - 10:00 p.m., with Kenyon and Kenny Wilkerson as the co-hosts.
Ten of the VooDoos regular season games are scheduled to be broadcast by NBC and will be seen locally on WDSU Channel 6. Cox Sports Television will broadcast the VooDoos remaining six games regionally. They will also broadcast a 30-minute pre-game show before each VooDoo game broadcast. Cox Sports TV will also air Inside VooDoo with Mike Neu on a weekly basis. The half-hour show will show on Thursday, February 19 from 5:30-6:00 p.m. and will be replayed on Sunday, February 22, prior to the Georgia game from 11:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.
FB Dan Curran's two yard run as time expired on the clock and kicker Brian Schmitz's extra point gave the VooDoo a last second 41-40 triumph over the Indiana Firebirds in the team's inaugural home opener at the New Orleans Arena. The last second win gave the VooDoo their second consecutive victory. QB John Fitzgerald finished 16-of-35 for 222 yards and three touchdowns for New Orleans. QB Tony Zimmerman finished 19-of-34 for 178 yards and two touchdowns for Indiana, who have lost their first two games. VooDoo OS Aaron Bailey caught eight passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns to lead all receivers. Curran scored two touchdowns, giving him four overall in 2004. Evan Hlavacek led the Firebirds with six receptions for 59 yards with one touchdown. VooDoo DS Chris Pointer led VooDoo defenders with 5.5 tackles and two passes defensed. DS Monty Montgomery had five solo tackles and one pass defense. OL/DL B.J. Cohen chipped in two solo tackles and one tackle for a loss, while catching a seven-yard catch on offense.
The VooDoos Record When?
1-0 at home
1-0 on the road
1-0 vs. Central Division
1-0 vs. Eastern Division
0-0 vs. Southern Division
0-0 vs. Western Division
0-0 on Thursdays
0-0 on Fridays
1-0 on Saturdays
1-0 on Sundays
2-0 in February
2-0 in games televised on NBC
1-0 when leading at the half
0-0 when tied at the half
1-0 when trailing at the half
2-0 when leading after three quarters
0-0 when tied after three quarters
0-0 when trailing after three quarters
1-0 outcome 7 points or less
1-0 outcome 3 points or less
0-0 overtime games
0-0 when the VooDoo scores first
2-0 when the opponent scores first
The VooDoo Practice Facility
On February 13, the club unveiled its new, state-of-the art headquarters, which gives the VooDoo unrivaled practice facilities within the Arena Football League. Owner Tom Bensons commitment to the franchise and its fans is evident in the expense and detail that went into the construction of the recently-completed building, which is located on the campus of the New Orleans Saints training facility. The facilities included in the structure are among the AFLs most advanced and are expected to give the expansion team a competitive advantage in both game preparation and luring top-notch players to New Orleans in the future.
Features of the 12,800 square-foot facility
-- The building is complete with a lobby/reception area, coachs offices, meeting rooms, a team locker room, showers, steam room, equipment room, laundry room, meeting rooms, a training area and whirlpools.
-- The $1.6-million facility is completely separate from the Saints headquarters.
--Coach Mike Neu has an executive office in the building with four additional coachs offices. Over 1,000 square feet of the facility is offices for the coaches and staff. The offices will be wired with the latest computers and video equipment.
-- A conference room for coaching game-plan sessions is also available.
-- Two meeting rooms for offense and defense and have been included, which can be combined into a large, team meeting area by sliding a separating partition.
-- Neu and assistant coaches Kevin Porter (defensive coordinator), Junior Ili (line coach), Tres Sullivan (offensive assistant/special teams coordinator), Franklin Thomas (fullbacks/linebackers coach) and Adam Bailey (strength and conditioning coach) have their own locker room and shower area.
-- There are two whirlpools and a steam room for the players.
--The VooDoo locker room features 34 lockers and a players lounge. It is serviced by an equipment room with custom shelving and a laundry room with commercial washers and dryers.
-- A full-length outdoor 100-yard field is being completed and will have an Astroplay surface. The field will feature Arena Football League regulation goalposts and the net setup to allow the club to practice using the nets that surround the playing surface in an actual game. The synthetic turf allows the club to practice on the surface they will play every game on during the season.
-- Of course, if there is inclement weather, the VooDoo can always move inside to the New Orleans Saints indoor practice arena that was completed in 2003, which is among the top practice facilities in the NFL. The club has designed inflatable walls to surround the practice area that simulates the field size of the indoor game.
Comments on the Practice Facility
VooDoo Head Coach Mike Neu: This is the finest facility Ive seen in the Arena Football League, and it shows the commitment to winning of Mr. Benson and everyone involved with the team. We have all of the resources we need to create an atmosphere of success. Our players and coaches are very happy.
VooDoo Quarterback John Fitzgerald: Everything we have is top-notch. We have the nicest locker room that anybody has in the Arena Football League. All of these facilities stem from the team having excellent ownership. It comes from the top.
VooDoo Offensive Specialist Aaron Bailey: Were going to set the standard in the Arena Football League with the new facilities that Mr. Benson has graciously provided for us. It has new steam rooms, whirlpools and state-of-the-art meeting rooms. Everything is second to none. Im very excited for our team and the organization to have such a nice place to come to work everyday.
Coach Neu Says
Excerpts from VooDoo head coach Mike Neus Monday press conference about Saturdays last second victory over the Indiana Firebirds and next Sundays opponent, the Georgia Force.
(on the atmosphere of the New Orleans Arena for the VooDoos inaugural home opener last Saturday) "It was exciting. To sit back after the game was over and reflect on it that night, it was exciting to see our fans that were that loud at the end of the game and that instrumental in helping us get that victory. It was emotional after the game was over but I was just excited because I know in the Arena Football League we need the fans in order to make the product go and be successful. I was happy that we found one point more than we needed to get a win and that was the thing that was exciting when it was all said and done."
(on the play of VooDoo Fullback/Linebacker Dan Curran, who played for the Georgia Force from 2002-03 and is the Arena Football Leagues leading rusher with 49 yards and four touchdowns) "Dan has four touchdowns in two games and that is one of the big reasons we went out and got Dan Curran in the free agent market because in this division and in this league it still takes, just like the outdoor game, great defense and being able to run the ball effectively. In the Arena Football League somebody is miss led because they see 25 yards rushing in a game and they don't think that is a lot but in the arena league it is. Dan is one of those guys that you can keep the pass rush honest and when you have that weapon and you have the ability to do that when games are close like that and you are down inside the five yard line we are going to rely on Dan Curran to get us in."
(on if he is surprised at the expansion VooDoos quick 2-0 start) "I am surprised, but at the same time those are our expectations every week. We prepare to win. We don't talk about anything else other than winning. We know we are an expansion team and I understand Philadelphia is 0- 2 right now, but we prepare hard every week to win. We went out in the free agent market and lineman are the key to this thing and those guys have done a great job up front but, we are in no way, shape, or form satisfied and the team understands that. We looked at film and offensively we scored on six out of ten drives. We left 28 points on the field somewhere. We have got to find a way to capitalize on those opportunities. By a long shot we have a long way to go and the great thing is we won by one point and we found a way to win last week in Philadelphia. We are winning but we still have a lot of hard work ahead of us."
(on the Georgia Force, this weeks opponent and the first divisional rival that the VooDoo will face) "Georgia is good. They beat the defending champions (Tampa Bay Storm) 70-62 on Friday night. Again our opponent is getting better and we have to get better, but they have always been a solid team because they were the old Nashville Kats so they have had a solid history. They were amongst the top three teams last year defensively and have a great pass rush. They got all over Tampa's quarterback on Friday night so we are going to have to shore ourselves up and we are going to have to be sharp. We have to be more productive offensively. Like I said, we left 28 points out there on Saturday and we have to find a way to get that because these guys are good."
A quick look at how New Orleans and Georgia match up on both sides of the ball based on 2004 regular season stats.
Statistical New Orleans Georgia
Category Stat Stat
Scoring Offense 83 98
Scoring Defense 74 116
Total Offense (Yds/G) 241.0 263.0
Total Defense (Yds/G) 238.0 282.5
Pass Offense (Yds/G) 214.0 232.5
Pass Defense (Yds/G) 214.5 266.0
Rushing Offense (Yds/G) 27.0 30.5
Rushing Defense (Yds/G) 23.5 16.5
Kickoff Returns 13.8 22.7
Field Goals 0-4 0-4
PAT Kicking 9-11 14-14
Sacks By (sks-yds) 0-0 3-13
Sacks Against 0-0 2-16
First Downs 38 35
Penalties (#/yds) 13/84 13/82
Turnover Margin +1 +1
Time of Possession 31:07 29:51
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