April 3, 2011

0-4 Voodoo in growing pains

The re-born New Orleans Voodoo are going through some growing pains.

The 0-4 Voodoo were beaten badly in the New Orleans Arena by the Georgia Force Saturday night. 

New Orleans native and Voodoo starting quarterback through two incarnations of the franchise, Danny Wimprine was brutalized Saturday night and when down with an apparently concussion or shoulder injury in the fourth quarter, his team already down 61-27.

Wimprine replaced by former Rhode Island QB Derek Cassidy, the Voodoo offense had trouble executing the basic AFL motion snap, penalized four times for illegal procedure.  Star WR/KR PJ Berry was slow to get up on multiple occassions after brutal collisions with defenders and the wall.  WR Hutch Gonzales was also concussed in the game and did not return. 

Cassidy himself was slowed in the final minutes of the game, drawing a roughing penalty as the Force applied a relentless pass rush through the end of the game. 

It was a matchup of two former AFL2 teams.  The Alabama Vipers moved from Huntsville, AL and assumed the name of the Georgia Force.  The current Voodoo team is the new identity of the renamed AFL2's Shreveport/Bossier City BattleWings.

The Arena Football League was reborn last year when a number of its teams died and it merged with the smaller-market AFL2 league, which featured teams like the BattleWings.  The old Arena Football League declared bankruptcy in 2009 after the season was canceled, but the new league played in 15 cities in 2010.

The winless Voodoo replaced offensive coordinator Ben Bennett with Shreveport native Raymond Philyaw after three games.  Philyaw is effectively the third offensive coordinator for the team this season - Johnny Lyles left the team shortly before the season for a college job. 

Philyaw's first game as coordinator was plagued by protection issues and six turnovers.  After the game, head coach Derek Stingley said he had "rolled with these guys for four weeks," but that he'd start looking for other players, as other teams are "more athletic" than his.

Reported attendance was 8,282 Saturday night.

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