The freshman-filled Omaha Heart, now with eighty minutes of Legends Football League experience under their belts, head down to Atlanta for a re-match with the Steam. As game 2 played out April 25th on Fuse, it was evident that a heated-rivalry is currently brewing between Omaha and Atlanta. We all witnessed the personal trash-talking, big hits, and hard pounces that were thrown between the two teams, in their April 18th contest. With an improving Omaha Heart and a rested Atlanta Steam, this game is expected to be a high-intensity battle. Some analysts suspect fans could see more pounces thrown Saturday night at ‘The Factory’ (Arena at Gwinnett Center) than what we saw in the bout between Mayweather and Pacquiao this past Saturday.
After two straight games, the Omaha Heart defense has given up an LFL record 128 points and the offense has failed to find the endzone. It is clear that Omaha’s offense has improved from the first to the second game, but they are far from being scouted as respectable. Mistakes, fumbles, uncertainty still exist within the offense. The Heart showed some promise as quarterback Ashley Amick was able to lead the offense down-field multiple times, but it seemed like once things were going good, an Amick fumble or false-start penalty would kill their chances of getting in the endzone.
Saturday night in Chicago, fans caught a glimpse of the strong-arm and deep-ball ability Amick possesses, but until she can keep the ball off the ground and get her offense on the same page, her talents will remain futile. Defensively, the Heart needs to consistently stop an offense. We saw that Omaha has the strength and ability to force their opponent to turn the ball over on downs, but once or twice a game will not suffice if this defense wants any recognition. It is time for the Omaha defense to come out and hit their stride this weekend and make the Steam offense feel their presence with aggression and physicality.
KEYS FOR OMAHA
Omaha still needs to improve a lot this week on both sides of the ball. Ashley Amick needs to control the ball and have a flawless exchange with her center, whether from under center or the shotgun. Wasted plays and turnovers will not improve Omaha’s chances of putting points on the board and competing in this game. To coincide with taking care of the ball, everyone on offense needs to learn their blocking assignments and stay on their man until the whistle blows. Defensively, Omaha needs to come out strong and get pressure on Dakota Hughes. If Dakota goes untouched, look for her to pick apart the Hearts rookie-secondary.
While watching game film this week between Chicago and Omaha, the Steam certainly were thinking more about their game May 10th against the Bliss than this Saturday’s game against the Heart. After the Steam had their way against the Heart two weeks ago, they will look at this game as an automatic win and expect to sit 2-1 as they head into Chicago next week. However, it will be important for the Steam to stay focused on the Heart and this game, as it could be costly to overlook their new rival due to the improvement that Omaha has shown and will continue to show.
Dina Wojowski and Adrian Purnell, without a doubt, will have to play with the fire and aggression seen last game, because there are Heart players gunning for them. Omaha’s rookies were not handed a warm welcoming to the LFL by the Steam and that game will certainly remain a motivation for the up and coming Heart leaders. Now that all around the league have seen the behind-the-scenes trash talk by Atlanta, they will have to play up to their talk each game. The Atlanta Steam have a big goal this season and expect them to play hard every week.
KEYS FOR ATLANTA
Atlanta will need to again show Omaha that they are the better team by playing a hard-hitting and high-intensity game. Giving quarterback Dakota Hughes time to find her receivers will be key for the Steam offense as they have weapons all around her that can make big plays and gain yardage after the catch. Defensively they need to control the line-of-scrimmage and get pressure on quarterback Ashely Amick, and find ways to force turnovers if the Heart fail to take care of the ball.
– Text by Colton Cull, originally posted on LFL360.com