Tomorrow is gameday! For devoted fans of the AAF, who have been waiting since March 20th, 2018, everything they have been waiting for will come to fruition. “Flip-off,” as the beginning of the game has been dubbed by fans, is at 8:00 pm featuring San Diego Fleet @ San Antonio Commanders and the Atlanta Legends @ Orlando Apollos. Having the opportunity to attend a few practices, based on what I saw, these are my three keys to victory for the Orlando Apollos!
1. Wreak havoc on defense
This defense is fast, I mean really fast! During preseason action the Apollos’ defense had six sacks and created four turnovers in the first half of play. Veteran presence Will Hill III brings NFL experience, knowledge and credibility to the defensive unit. Atlanta has lost its head coach and just recently its offensive coordinator. That will open things up for a defense that has really started to gel. It will be difficult for the Legends receivers to create the separation and the quarterbacks won’t be able to sit easily in the pocket. The Apollos’ defense will be what set the tone for the team, probably all season.
— Orlando Apollos (@aafAPOLLOS) February 6, 2019
2. Balance the offense
This one is simple, don’t force the passing game and forego the rushing attack. The Apollos are running what is being referred to as the “Sun-N-Gun” offense. Face value alone, that seems like a pass-happy offense. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that. If they balance things out, they will be able to create a well balanced, high-tempo offense that leaves opposing defenses gassed and puts points on the board. The Apollos have a strong running back corp, they are physical, fast and present a dual threat out of the backfield. With the push towards entertainment value, I hope the Apollos don’t skew towards the passing game and place the pressure on Gilbert to create downfield plays. That can, and will, affect the Apollos’ defensive pressure if the offense can’t string drives together.
3. Don’t let up
In the preseason game against the San Diego Fleet, the Apollos held a 31-12 in the fourth quarter but allowed the Fleet to score back-to-back touchdowns utilizing the new “onside kick” rule. The game ended with the score 31-28, with the Apollos narrowly escaping another onside conversion attempt, stopping them one yard short. The defense has to come ready to play four quarters. Seven sack in the first half is excellent, but the second half needs the same energy. That is where the offense can help. Slow down the game a bit, balance the offense, let those big guys on the D-line rest a little. This game will have to be a coordinated effort by both sides of the ball. Go up big, but don’t let off the gas. We have already seen how easily a team can come back!
There you have it, my keys to victory for the Apollos. Regardless of the outcome I, as a reporter and fan, am excited to see what these young men have been working for. It is finally their time to shine, and for the fans, leagues, and even their own sake, I hope it fits the bill! You can watch the Atlanta vs. Apollos game at 8:00 PM EST on CBS.
Enjoy the hype video too!
— Orlando Apollos (@aafAPOLLOS) February 8, 2019