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Back Together

Posted 4/16/2012

Back together


Predators return many from last season


By Nick Gourdoux

Leader-Telegram staff

The Chippewa Valley Predators don't have to change much.

The Predators, who lost in last year's Elite Bowl, will return most of last year's team when they kick off the regular season on May 19 at home against the Fox Valley Force.

"We're hoping to get back to the Elite Bowl," running back and reigning league MVP Vince Furby said. "We worked hard this offseason, and we just want to go back and win it like we did in '09."

If Saturday's scrimmage against the River City Rough Riders was any indication, the Predators should pick up right where they left off.

In addition to Furby, the Predators are also returning offensive standouts like quarterback L.A. Anderson, and all-star offensive linemen Chris Garner and Kellen Lager. The Predators also added running backs Deshay Hudson and Aaron Woodard.

The addition of Hudson and Woodard may have a big impact on the Predators offense. On numerous occasions during Saturday's scrimmage, Furby lined up at wide receiver while Hudson or Woodard lined up in the backfield.

"We want me out in space more," Furby said. "We have enough running backs that can carry the ball, so I might get some carries, but I'm not I'm not looking forward to it."

Furby said he is going to use the role change as an opportunity to improve as a player.

"I'm looking forward to getting the MVP again," he said with a wry smile. "I want to excel more on special teams — I want to run back more kicks and punts and put our team in good position."

In any offseason, there's going to be ­roster ­turnover, and this past offseason was no exception for the Predators.

"There's a lot of new faces this year, but one guy that we're really missing is No. 72, Stoney West," Garner said. "He played guard next to me, and me and him were a good duo."

West is still listed on the Predators' roster, but he suffered a leg injury in the first half of last year's Elite Bowl, and his status for the season remains in question.

"It does effect chemistry, but that's why we utilize the opportunities in practice and this scrimmage to build chemistry," coach Martin Adams said. "Slowly but surely we'll get it, and we'll be fine."

On the defensive side, the Predators can count on strong secondary play as standouts Ukee Dozier and Montae Bailey are both back for another season. Against the Rough Riders on Saturday, the Predators returned three interceptions for touchdowns.

With most key players returning, it's easy to pencil in the Predators for another Elite Bowl appearance, but that's exactly what Adams warned his team about.

"This season, the only thing that matters is the game at hand and the day at hand," he said. "Don't get me wrong, our goal is to hoist the trophy, but our focus is the game at hand. We have to take care of the game today."

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