O’Hanlon Reflects On Season Opening Blow-Out Win
TRENTON – During our weekly call, Trenton Freedom Head Coach Kevin O’Hanlon touched on a few things about his team following their 52-17 season opening victory over the Richmond Raiders. The first thing we touched on was the play of defensive back Dominic Joseph. Joseph earned Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL) Defensive Player of the Week for the first week of the season.
“I expect that every week,” O’Hanlon started. “Someone on our defense should win Player of the Week every week. I think we had a few guys that could have won the award. Jerome Hayes had a strong game, Dominic had a great game, and Kwaheem Smith had a great game as well, so there were three guys on the defense that they could have picked.”
Muhammad Shamsid-Deen had opportunities to have the biggest game of them all, but three (by my count) interceptions slipped through his fingers.
“I think he had a little bit of jitters, he was always in the right spot.” O’Hanlon said. “We will get that visor off of him. I never understood the visor in the indoor game.”
Hayes finished with 5.5 tackles, but the violence behind the tackles that set the tone for the Freedom defense. Most of Hayes’ thunderous hits came in the first half so I asked Coach O’Hanlon about Hayes’ second half.
“Jerome played a ton.” O’Hanlon started. “It’s just that when we were kind of wrapping it up in the fourth quarter we held on to the ball on offense and figured they would try to throw on us. We took Jerome out at the Jack position and moved Muhammad down to the Jack to give us a little more speed and a little more flexibility when covering ground. Jerome has speed but he’s our wrecking ball and holds the middle up.”
Even though his team put up 52 points, O’Hanlon feels his offense is just getting started.
“I believe we have a lot more to offer, we really didn’t show anything,” O’Hanlon said. “We basically stayed with four sets, we did what we wanted to do, but we should have scored more points.”
“Our offense rarely had long fields because our defense kept Richmond pinned deep,” he added. “As I watched the film and read the stats I was blown away at how few yards we had especially when we scored as many points as we did.”
O’Hanlon outlined a few necessary improvements needed before his squad takes on Adam Bednarik and the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks.
“We have to get a little bit better pass rush and get our hands up when we get around the quarterback,” O’Hanlon started. “Richmond’s quarterback let the ball out at a low angle that we could have tipped and possibly intercepted more passes.”
The Steelhawks defensive front is one of the best in the league led by defensive end Larry Ford.
“Our offensive line played better than I thought, but I still want to see improvement in our center,” O’Hanlon said.
The biggest problem was the play of the special teams, a roster move at the kicker position is a start toward correcting the problem, but when a coach says this,
“Special teams…holy crap do we have to work on our special teams…we are not good there.”
It is a safe bet that all facets of special teams will get major attention in preparation for Saturday’s game.
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