NEW ORLEANS — You can call VooDoo kick returner Brent Holmes old. Maybe even grandpa.
Just make sure you also call him fast.
Holmes, now in his ninth season in the Arena Football League, has started the 2013 season as one of the league’s best kick returners. His 390 return yards are tied for third in the league.
“My mentality is that those other guys are blocking their tails off in front,” said Holmes, who has played for nine teams in the AFL and AFL2, making him the VooDoo’s oldest player at 32. “I have to reward them by making a guy miss or getting through a tight spot. Find my crease and go.”
The VooDoo (1-2) host the Pittsburgh Power (0-3) on Friday night at the New Orleans Arena. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.
Last week, Holmes’ 205 return yards (10 returns) during a 76-30 loss at the Jacksonville Sharks marked one of the VooDoo’s few positives. His 37-yard return in the fourth quarter was his longest of the season.
“Offensively, we were struggling a little bit, so I was trying to keep the mind set that if we kept good field position, we’d stay in the game,” he said. “I was just trying to do my part.”
Holmes could enjoy plenty of kick return opportunities against Pittsburgh. The Power’s offense, led by former LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson, ranks last in the league in passing offense (173 yards per game). The VooDoo ranks 11th (237.3).
Power connections to the state: Power coach Derek Stingley lives in Baton Rouge. He is a former head coach (2011) and defensive coordinator with the VooDoo ... Last season, linebacker Alvin Ray Jackson led the VooDoo in tackles (89). In 2011, he caught a league-record 11 interceptions. Offensive lineman Daverin Geralds, a Baton Rouge native who played college football at the University of Mississippi, played for the VooDoo from 2011-12.
VooDoo want to start faster: The VooDoo offense hopes to rebound from last week’s slow start at Jacksonville. The unit failed to score on its first five possessions (Two interceptions, two turnovers on downs and one missed field goal). Meanwhile, the VooDoo defense allowed Jacksonville to score touchdowns on its first eight possessions.