Omaha Nighthawks Game Notes
The Nighthawks return to TD Ameritrade Park for their second home game of the season five days after a thrilling home opener that ended in a 38-10 victory over the visiting Virginia Destroyers. This week, the 2-1 Nighthawks host the only undefeated team in the UFL - the 3-0 Las Vegas Locomotives. The action begins at 8 p.m. with live broadcasts on KOZN (1620 The Zone) and CBS Sports Network (Cox channel 234). A live stream of the radio broadcast will be available online at 1620thezone.com. Radio play-by-play will be provided by Gary Sharp, with color commentary by Mike'l Severe. Brent Stover will provide play-by-play coverage for the television broadcast, with analysis by Adam Archuleta and sideline reporting by Lauren Gardner.
Wednesday's game marks the Nighthawks' second consecutive home game. The team opened the season with two road games, recording a come-from-behind victory over Sacramento in week one and a tough 6-41 loss in Las Vegas in week two.
In tonight's rematch with the Locos, the Nighthawks will look for their second-ever victory at TD Ameritrade Park. This is the Nighthawks' third season of professional football and the United Football League's fourth year of play.
The Locos have emerged victorious in every game against the Nighthawks since the Omaha team's inception in 2010. Omaha went 0-2 against Las Vegas in both the 2010 and 2011 seasons, and the Locos steamrolled the Nighthawks 41-6 two weeks ago in Las Vegas. The last time the teams met at TD Ameritrade Park was Oct. 15, 2011, when Omaha lost 6-13.
The Omaha Nighthawks will endeavor to produce a great football organization that will be a credit to the Omaha community and the United Football League. We will strive to provide our city and region with a successful team that personifies qualities of integrity, sportsmanship and competitive respect for each other, our opponents and our fans. Our organization will provide an environment wherein our players, coaches, staff and partners can improve and enhance their personal careers and aspirations. We are all in it together. The right way. The Nighthawk way.
ALL SYSTEMS GO
In last Friday's game against Virginia, the Nighthawks finally found the rhythm and consistency that they have been searching for since week one. In their 38-10 victory over the Destroyers, Omaha scored in all three phases of the game, with touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams. In addition to his two touchdown runs, quarterback Jason Boltus threw one touchdown pass to Preston Brown. Aaron Weathers returned a blocked field goal for an Omaha touchdown, and Antonio Fenelus added to the point total when he returned an interception for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. The Nighthawks will look to maintain that consistency as they take on the Locos this week.
Las Vegas has consistently been one of the top teams in the league since the inaugural UFL season in 2009. The Locos have appeared in all three UFL championship games, winning twice (in 2009 and 2010). This year, the Locos have continued their tradition of success, pulling away as early season leaders with their undefeated record of 3-0. This will be Omaha's sixth game against Vegas, and the Nighthawks will be looking for their first-ever victory over the Locos.
PLAYING WITH PASSION
According to head coach Bart Andrus, the biggest difference between the team that took the field two weeks ago in Vegas and the team that hosted Virginia last week was the level of passion that was brought into the game. "I asked them what we were missing in Vegas as we went into game week [last week], and one of the things we identified is that we were flat," Andrus said. "So one of the focal points [going into the Virginia game] was that we wanted to come out and play with a lot of emotion and a lot of passion, and we did that."
FOR THE HOME CROWD
For a team that once drew crowds of 25,000 people, last week's attendance of 3,563 was less than impressive. Still, the fans that did show up cheered their hearts out and made the game day atmosphere at TD Ameritrade Park exciting for spectators and players alike. "We said going in that whether we had a crowd of 10 or 10,000 our guys were going to play hard for them, and for the people who came, I think it was an awesome game," said head coach Bart Andrus. "We hope to see more fans out to see this team play in the next game. At the same time, we really want to show the national television audience what football in Nebraska is all about."
NIGHTHAWKS TO KNOW
Safety Aaron Weathers has emerged as a leader on the Nighthawks special teams unit. He recorded a blocked field goal in Omaha's season opener in Sacramento. In last Friday's home opener against Las Vegas, he blocked another field goal and returned it for a touchdown in one of Omaha's most memorable plays of the night. Veteran cornerback DeMarcus Faggins also had a good game, logging three solo tackles. Faggins is known by friends, family and teammates as "Petie," a nickname his grandmother gave him when he was a little boy because he had a dark circle around one eye that made him look like the dog from "The Little Rascals." Faggins says the circle - which he believes was a birthmark of some kind - has since disappeared.
Vegas offensive line coach Don Eck coached under Nighthawks quarterbacks coach Gene Dahlquist in 2003 when Dahlquist was the head coach of the Scottish Claymores of NFL Europe. Eck also was on the staff of the Berlin Thunder in 2005, the year that the Thunder went up against the Amsterdam Admirals in the World Bowl. Nighthawks head coach Bart Andrus was the head coach of the Admirals - who ended up winning the game - that year.
2012 OMAHA NIGHTHAWKS PRONOUNCIATION GUIDE
Bart Andrus AND-russ
Marcel Bellefeuille BELL-fay
Pete Kuharchek Kah-HAR-check
Brandon Akpunku ACK-a-POON-koo
Brandon Coutu KOH-too
DeMarcus Faggins FAY-ghins
Antonio Fenelus Fen-ELL-us
GJ Kinne KIN-nee
Franklin Okam OAK-um
Cory Ohnesorge O-nez-ORG-ah
Schuylar Oordt SKY-ler ORT
Aaron Pflugrad FLEW-grad
Nicholas Saenz SINES
2012 NIGHTHAWKS COACHING STAFF
Bart Andrus Head Coach
Marcel Bellefeuille Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers
Pete Kuharchek Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
Don Lawrence Assistant to the Head Coach
Russ Purnell Special Teams Coordinator
Ron Heller Offensive Line
Rex Norris Defensive Line
Richard Kent Defensive Backs
Mike Morand Defensive Quality Control
Robert Hunt Tight Ends
Steve Heimann Running Backs
Travis Andrus Special Teams Quality Control
James Kerwin Head Strength Coach
Tom Lechtenberg Head Athletic Trainer
2012 COACHES' BIOS
Bart Andrus, Head Coach
Bart Andrus returns to Omaha for his second season with the Nighthawks after serving as the team's offensive coordinator for the 2011 season. Andrus has more than 30 years of coaching experience and has coached in five championship games at the professional level. Prior to joining the Nighthawks, Andrus spent one season as the head coach of the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League in 2009. From 2001 to 2007, he served as the head coach of the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe, leading the team to two World Bowl championship berths. In 2005, Andrus was named NFL Europe Coach of the Year after the Admirals won their first championship title in franchise history. He spent a total of four seasons with the Tennessee Titans as a quarterbacks coach and offensive assistant, helping former NFL great Steve McNair lead the team all the way to Super Bowl XXXIV. Andrus also enjoyed great success at the collegiate level, culminating with the 1996 NAIA Coach of the Year Award.
Marcel Bellefeuille, Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers
Marcel Bellefeuille comes to Omaha following a successful 15-plus-year career in Canada. Most recently, Bellefeuille served as the head coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League from 2009-2011. During that time, he led the Tiger-Cats to three playoff appearances and their first playoff victory in 10 years. He also has served as the offensive coordinator for the Montreal Alouettes and the Saskatchewan Roughriders. During his tenure at the University of Ottawa, Bellefeuille coached the Gee-Gees to a national championship title in 2000.
Pete Kuharchek, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
Pete Kuharchek returns for his second season with the Nighthawks, having served as the team's defensive backs coach in 2011. He brings more than 40 years of coaching experience to Omaha. During his ten seasons as an assistant coach and head coach in NFL Europe, Kuharchek earned a reputation as one of the best defensive coaches in league history. As the defensive coordinator for the Rhein Fire, Kuharchek won two World Bowl titles. He later took over head coaching duties for the Fire and led the team to two World Bowl appearances in five seasons. Kuharchek also has coached for the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League (2006 and 2008) as well as the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League (2009).
Russ Purnell, Special Teams Coordinator
Russ Purnell has more than 40 years of coaching experience. After beginning his coaching career at the high school and collegiate levels, he joined the Seattle Seahawks staff in 1986 as an assistant tight ends and special teams coach. Since then, he has coached for the Tennessee Titans, the Baltimore Ravens, the Indianapolis Colts and, most recently, the Jacksonville Jaguars. He won two Super Bowl rings as a special teams coach, with Baltimore in 2000 and with Indianapolis in 2006.
Don Lawrence, Assistant to the Head Coach
Don Lawrence's career in football spans more than 50 years. He played three years for the Washington Redskins before beginning his coaching career at the collegiate level. He spent three seasons as Virginia's head coach (1971-1973) and also served as an assistant on the coaching staffs at Kansas State and Missouri. At the professional level, Lawrence is one of the most accomplished coaches on the Nighthawks staff. As a tight ends coach for the Buffalo Bills in the 1990s, Lawrence coached in four-straight Super Bowls. He also coached in four-straight World Bowls with the Frankfurt Galaxy and the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe. He served as the offensive line coach for the Nighthawks during the 2011 season.
Gene Dahlquist, Quarterbacks
Gene Dahlquist has more than 30 years of collegiate coaching experience at top football programs across the country. He spent six seasons from 1992-1997 as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Texas, where he helped produce some of the best offenses in Texas history en route to three conference championships. Dahlquist previously held the same coaching position at Illinois, where he twice saw his offense lead the league in passing and helped the team secure four bowl game appearances in four years. As the offensive coordinator at Boise State, Dahlquist helped the Broncos capture five Big Sky Conference titles, along with a Division I-AA national championship title in 1980. Dahlquist also has coached at Idaho State, Utah, Oregon, Iowa State and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. After leaving the collegiate ranks, Dahlquist spent three seasons as the head coach of the Scottish Claymores of NFL Europe from 2001-2003. Since then, he has lent his expertise to Football University and has served as an NFL personnel consultant.
Steve Heimann, Running Backs
Steve Heimann returns to Omaha for his second season with the Nighthawks. He was an offensive quality control/assistant quarterbacks coach during the 2011 season. Heimann previously served as the tight ends coach at Nebraska Wesleyan University and was promoted to special teams coordinator before accepting his position with the Nighthawks. He coached defensive backs for the Nebraska Bears indoor professional football team in 2005.
Robert Hunt, Tight Ends
Robert Hunt returns for his second season with the Nighthawks after serving as an assistant offensive line/quality control coach in 2011. Hunt played briefly for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the New Orleans Saints, the Frankfurt Galaxy of NFL Europe and the New York/New Jersey Hitmen of the XFL before starting his coaching career in 2005 as an intern with the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe. From 2007-2008, Hunt served as the offensive line and run game coordinator at Howard University. He then spent one season as the tight ends/offensive quality control coach for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League in 2009. He was an offensive line coach at Bridgewater College in 2010.
Ron Heller, Offensive Line
Ron Heller spent 12 seasons as a starting tackle in the NFL, playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Miami Dolphins. He began his coaching career in 2004 as an assistant offensive line/tight ends coach for the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe. In subsequent seasons with the Admirals, he was promoted to offensive line coach and offensive coordinator. He spent one year as the offensive line coach for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League in 2009 before accepting a position as an offensive assistant with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He coached in Jacksonville for two seasons, 2010 and 2011.
Rex Norris, Defensive Line
Rex Norris brings more than 40 years of college and NFL coaching experience to the Nighthawks staff. After playing linebacker in college, Norris began his coaching career and quickly moved up the collegiate coaching ranks with stints at Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Arizona State. He later spent time at Florida, Tennessee and Texas. In the NFL, Norris has coached for the Detroit Lions, the Denver Broncos, the Tennessee Titans and the Chicago Bears. In 2004, he joined the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe as a defensive line coach and helped lead the team to a 2005 World Bowl victory. He also spent one season with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League in 2009.
Richard Kent, Defensive Backs
Richard Kent returns to Omaha for his second season after coaching special teams for the Nighthawks in 2011. He spent 16 seasons coaching at the collegiate level before moving to NFL Europe, where he filled a variety of roles as a coach, personnel director and scout. Kent reached the World Bowl four times, winning titles in 2002 with the Berlin Thunder and in 2005 with the Amsterdam Admirals. He served as a secondary coach for the Toronto Argonauts for one season in 2009.
Mike Morand, Defensive Quality Control
Mike Morand returns to Omaha for his second season with the Nighthawks after serving as an assistant wide receivers/quality control coach during the 2011 season. Morand brings with him 12 years of college coaching experience, and he spent half of those as an offensive coordinator. His coaching stops include North Carolina A&T, Virginia Union, Virginia State, Wingate, Barber-Scotia, Livingstone and West Georgia. In 2009, he completed an NFL coaching internship with the Houston Texans. He attended training to become a head coach with the NCAA Expert Coaches Forum in 2008 and the NCAA Coaches Academy in 2009. From 1996-1999, Morand played quarterback at Florida A&M University, where he was coached by the legendary Billy Joe, the fourth winningest head coach in NCAA Division I history.
Travis Andrus, Special Teams Quality Control
Travis Andrus, the son of head coach Bart Andrus, makes his coaching debut this season after playing football at the University of Montana.
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United Football League Stories from October 16, 2012
- United Football League Season Reaches Halfway Mark - UFL
- Omaha Nighthawks Game Notes - Omaha Nighthawks
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