EARLY LITMUS TEST FOR THE WESTERN CONFERENCE (SEATTLE MIST vs. AUSTIN ACOUSTIC, LFL360.com Game Preview)
A pair of franchises with high expectations in 2017, face-off Friday night in Austin, Texas at H-E-B Center. The Teshay Winfrey-led Austin Acoustic look to upset a Seattle Mist team that will be without its leader Danika Brace (retirement), while trying to integrate into its culture, impact free-agent signings Michelle Angel (QB/S), Jade Randle (WR/S), Danielle Hawkins (DE) and Nicole Peterson (C).
Seattle will look to keep pace with the Chicago Bliss, re-loading with the deepest roster of free-agent signings in the history of the LFL. Question that remains, how long of leash Seattle offensive coordinator and head coach Chris Michelson will give KK Matheny at Quarterback considering the career-season Michelle Angel had at Quarterback in 2016? While Brace is a major loss, Randle could be an athletic upgrade a the Safety position, with better hands and mobility than Brace. Hawkins will make an instant impact and will be needed to contain Austin’s Winfrey.
KEYS for SEATTLE: Establish Stevie Schnor / Dominique Malloy ground-game, play-action to Jade Randle. Defensively, spy Teshay Winfrey.
PLAYERS to WATCH: Jade Randle, Stevie Schnor, Dominique Malloy
Austin made a cultural change in the off-season, parting ways with first-year head coach Jericho Harris, who the consensus was lacked commitment. The hiring of Mike Olvera has brought a far more regimented culture of accountability. The key to success or failure in 2017, will be the play of Quarterback Teshay Winfrey, as well as identifying an every-down running back. Defensively, this is a very small defense that could struggle against a power-back like Schnor.
KEYS for AUSTIN: Keep Seattle’s high-powered offense, off the field. Establish run game with Michelle Marshall and Teshay Winfrey, keep the Seattle defense honest with a short dink-and-dunk west coast offense. Ball control and time of possession.