Together, the entire Massachusetts Pirates secondary is learning a new type of football.
Defensive backs Lawrence Austin, Chucky Williams, Al Louis-Jean, have just won their first game. Not only of the season, but the first of their arena football careers.
Austin himself had two interceptions against the Orlando Predators in the team’s victory after the first two weeks of the season ending roughly due to poor performance and system growing pains.
“It’s been an experience [getting used to the game] I can say that,” Austin said about getting used to the new format. “We started off with Carolina, they were a good team and it humbled us.”
Williams, a Louisville alum, has had his difficulties with adapting but feels that he is getting the hang of it.
“It’s a huge transition, but for the most part I’m embracing it everything from the first game to now,” Williams said. “I’m feeling it really right now and just focusing on dominating every game.”
Williams said that the members of the secondary have not just bonded over playing together, but also learning a new game together.
“It’s all about having good chemistry,” Williams said. “Just clicking and communicating with each other and I feel like we’ve been doing that lately so right now we got the ball rolling and getting a great feeling of the game and we don’t see ourselves as rookies so it is what it is.”
The newest member, Lashard Durr, who spent time with the Indianapolis Colts, was signed just a day before last week’s game and all he wanted to do was go out there and play.
“Just communication and everybody going out there and having fun,” Durr said. “Everybody was talking to me and letting me know where I gotta be on the field and how to play the position and basically you just gotta go out there and have fun and just enjoy it.”
That did not mean that the former Colt did not get a little uneasy.
“I was like, ‘Shoot’ because I was kind of nervous with arena because it was my first time playing in this,'” Durr said. “I’m so used to being outside so being here it’s just a different atmosphere and I enjoyed it.”
President Jawad Yatim reportedly pushed head coach Anthony Payton to get them onto the field and the new coach sees the progression in his soldiers in the secondary.
“Jawad wanted to see those guys and what they could do and they did a good job and I’m proud of them,” Payton said. “They’re new and we’re going to work on that and get it better.”
Payton sees that not only is there a common goal in the unit to win a championship, but to master the arena football game together.
“That has been the biggest hiccup for us is the fact that we are all so young,” Payton said. “I’ve been on young teams but I’ve never been on a team where we’ve had rookies in crucial positions like this, it’s very hard but they’re doing a good job coming from the outdoor game.”