The Sioux City Bandits begin their title defense in 20 days when they open the season against Omaha.
Head coach Erv Strohbeen returns tons of talent from last year’s team, but one important piece is off the roster.
2015 league MVP Charles Dowdell has departed from the team. The quarterback has moved on to the Indoor Football League to play for the Spokane Empire.
Former Marshall quarterback A.J. Graham has been signed to replace Dowdell. Graham appeared in seven games for the Thundering Herd back in 2011, totaling 800 yards and eight touchdowns. Graham finished his collegiate career at Pikeville University in Kentucky, racking up nearly 3000 yards of offense.
“On paper, his credentials are there,” said Strohbeen. “He can run, can throw, won the Florida Mr. Football award in 2009, played at a Division 1 university. I like those accolades,” said the Bandits head man.
With Graham at the helm, the Bandits have hopes of winning another shiny ring this season. With the opener just three weeks away, the guys are ready to roll.
“I feel like any team that comes off a championship, I feel like they have the confidence to go in and repeat even with the rebuilding that we had to do this year,” said Bandits lineman Darius Barnes. “I am pretty confident with the guys that we brought in and we can go for a repeat this year.”
“February is here, so it’s game time now,” said Bandits linebacker Marlon Lobban. “We got a motto, stay undefeated at home, but one game at a time, but if we can get a rhythm going, there is no stopping the hunt.”
The Bandits open the season on February 27 at home against Omaha.