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Week 1: Birmingham Iron vs. Memphis Express Post-Game Quotes

February 10, 2019 - Alliance of American Football (AAF) - Birmingham Iron News Release

IRON HEAD COACH TIM LEWIS

Opening statement:

"Thanks for all being here. That was fantastic. I really enjoyed that. That was fun. I want to thank (Express head coach) Mike (Singletary). I really appreciate Mike for bringing his Memphis team down here. My brother's (Will Lewis) their GM, and they do a fantastic job on preparing their players and putting on a heck of a football game. Our players played fairly well; I really appreciate all of them. Our coaches, I appreciate all the efforts that our team put forth to get this thing done and we did it in a good way. Quick injury update, of course, we got a couple of knees with (TE) Braedon Bowman, (G) Korren Kirven, and (WR) Amba Etta-Tawo, our receiver. We'll continue to evaluate those, keep you posted. Then we got a lower leg injury with a corner, (DB) Trovon Reed. I'll keep you all posted and updated on that.

A couple of our guys played really well, looking at the stats, sitting here for the first time looking at the stats I was really excited about some of the things that we did. We didn't have many explosives at our scrimmage game against Arizona, and we emphasized it in practice and they did a fantastic job. We had a 42-yarder with (WR Quinton) Patton and a 32 yarder with (WR DeVozea) Felton, that was fantastic. So, I thought that worked really well. We try to limit explosives on defense, and we did a good job at that and our defense played really well. They stepped up. Third down, I thought we didn't do a very good job against Arizona, but we emphasized it and I thought it was fantastic tonight. The guys worked very hard at it. Same offensively, we worked really hard on our third down defenses and they did a great job of doing that. Our punter (Colton Schmidt) and kicker (Nick Novak), I can't say enough about them. We've got two really good ones, and the punter pinned them back there twice at the 20, did a fantastic job. Our kicker, was 4-for-4 and he had short ones and long ones. He's a great veteran leader for us, and does a great job. Our snapper, (Cole Mazza), does a great job about getting the ball snapped and starting the play. Defensively, we took the ball a couple of times; we took two interceptions and a fumble recovery. We also consider those fourth down stops and we had a couple of those that benefited us and we consider those takeaways, as well. (Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Rick) Minter did a fantastic job of getting those guys ready to go and they performed. They did a fantastic job in their roles that they had."

On first shutout in AAF 2019 season:

"Oh, it was the first shutout? I haven't had a chance to watch any of the other games yet. Well, I'll tell you the defensive coordinator, Rick Minter... we worked really hard putting together a plan with a limited amount of exposure to that team that we had. We didn't know if they were going to be an empty, wildcat, or throw the ball all night or run it all night. We just had no idea as all the teams go into it in the dark. I thought he did a fantastic job at putting together a defensive package that kept it all in front and inside and tackled the catch, and that's what we did and got the players to understand it, they bought into it, and executed it."

On limiting Express QB Christian Hackenberg in the first half:

"Again, it was more of the keep it in front and inside, and tackle the catch philosophy, and we wanted to make sure our edges were solid, that they didn't run outside of us and make sure they didn't run it over our heads. We figured if we can keep it inside the white lines and inside of our corners, we would be fine."

On Iron QB Luis Perez's performance:

"Luis, I thought he did a great job. He was really on point. He threw the ball very well. He hit the guys that were open and picked the right people. When we did have him calling the game on his own, he did a fantastic job of directing the team. His composure was really good. His poise was good. He's a very positive leader and a very accurate passer."

IRON QB LUIS PEREZ

On the Iron defense:

"They say defense wins championships, right? A shutout, that's unbelievable. The way they fired the ball, rushed the passer, tipped balls, I am very fortunate to have a defense like that. That did have something to do with the approach to the game, knowing we had a defense like that. We were running the ball, and we pounding it at the end, and that was the game plan."

On Iron RB Trent Richardson:

"Trent is an unbelievable person and player. He works very hard and he is hard on himself. After his fumble we gathered and he said, 'That is on me. We are going to run the ball down their throats and get this win.'"

On being the starting quarterback:

"We are going to get better from here. There are a lot of things to clean up offensively. All of us on the offensive side of the ball, we have things to clean up. I don't think I showed anything. I have to improve and get better. Decision making and things like that, but I am the starting quarterback."

IRON RB TRENT RICHARDSON

On playing at Legion Field:

"I have never played here before. I've gotten to watch a few games here. I come to UAB games all the time. My son scored his first touchdown here a few months ago, too, in his championship game."

On what it means to have a big game to open the season:

"It's big. It's not even for the world, it's for myself. I never had a chance to play for myself, or my family [in the NFL]. I always had a lot of stuff on my shoulders. I am now back to a place where it is fun, and I can actually play for myself, my family, and that's all I need to do. I have my kids depending on me. They are 12 and 10. When they get to come and see me play they are smiling. That's all it's about, having fun. It's been a long time since I've had fun playing football."

On the Iron defense:

"Our defense played tremendous today. They took no prisoners. I kept saying, 'Y'all keep doing your thing,' and they said, 'We got your back.' To have that shutout at home, in front of that crowd, we will have a lot more fans if we keep playing like that. We are going to do what we can to make Birmingham proud and keep this league going. We are trying to be in Las Vegas in April."

EXPRESS HEAD COACH MIKE SINGLETARY

Opening statement:

"In a game like today, you can't do the things we did early on and not capitalize. I thought the team played hard but we did not play complimentary football. Our plan was to come in and mix it up, be able to run, get our quarterback comfortable, throw some underneath passes, it didn't really work like that. We missed some of those and well get better at that. Defensively, I thought we fought, and we just did some things today that you can't do. You can't do it anywhere, you can't do it at home, and you certainly can't do it on the road. We had opportunities, we did not convert, and we did not execute. So when I look at our football team, the basic thing I told our guys: we played hard, I appreciate that. We did not play complimentary football. Our plan was for our offense to come in and protect the football on the road. We did a good job doing that but we just didn't execute like we needed to."

On the Iron's defense that gave Express QB Christian Hackenberg problems:

"I thought they did a good job of mixing some of the coverages up but still, sometimes we just didn't hit the target and I thought overall they did a good job defensively. But some of those things I thought we had a chance to hit, but we just missed the target a couple of times."

On Iron RB Trent Richardson:

"He finds the ball very well. If you give him the ball 20-30 times a game he's going to be effective. We didn't do a good job of taking him out of his game. When they were able to score points and continue to pile points on, that's when you dial up Trent Richardson and they did a good job running the ball."

EXPRESS QB CHRISTIAN HACKENBERG

On the most frustrating part of the game:

"I think we have to start faster, and we have to execute. There's three or four plays that I would love to have back but we're gonna go back and watch the tape. It's Week 1. We'll figure out who we're going to be. We did a lot of good things and really starting to try to compile those good things. We just were never able to string things together. It was three, four good plays and then a negative yard play and it just puts us in hard situations to execute, so as a team we know that and we're still confident in what we can do. Like I said, it's a good learning experience for us and we're going to keep fighting."

On how it was starting for a franchise:

"It felt great. It's one of those things where it's a work in progress and we're going to keep going and we're going to keep figuring out who we are and what we do best. We need to start being able to compliment those things with the run game, and pass game and tie everything together and that's a process. It takes planning, live tape and live games, and we weren't able to execute at the highest today. We have to be able to do that in order to put ourselves in the position to win games. I thought our defense played great and at the end of the day we're still in a position to make some plays at the end of the game and still be in it and they played really hard. We're going to keep building and get back to work on Monday."

On what gave him the most problems:

"Linebackers were quick and we knew that on tape that they were able to do a couple things. They got us on some blitz packages where they were dropping, coming and our backs were kind of half way out. Like I said, it was a great learning experience and we have to make sure we figure out how to protect those things and prevent those things from happening."

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Alliance of American Football Stories from February 10, 2019


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