Backup quarterback Brian Reader came off the bench last week to become the unexpected hero, helping to end the New Orleans VooDoo’s four-game losing skid.
Now, Reader is aiming for more heroics. He wants to lead the VooDoo (2-4) to their first back-to-back wins of the season. On Saturday night, Reader is scheduled to make his first start of 2015 as the VooDoo host the Arizona Rattlers (4-2) at the Smoothie King Center. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
“I’ve been backup before in my career, so I’ve figured out how to, as most quarterbacks have, how to stay into the game, make sure I’m ready at all times, get a good warm-up before the game,” said Reader who entered in the second quarter, finishing with 206 yards and three touchdowns on 15-for-26 passing. The VooDoo beat the Spokane Shock 66-63.
“You never know what could happen at any point in time, especially in Arena Football.”
The VooDoo may be playing Arizona, the league’s three-time defending champions, at the right time. Quarterback Nick Davila, the reigning AFL MVP, missed last week’s 56-34 loss to the undefeated San Jose SaberCats with a toe injury. Backup B.J. Coleman made his first career start for the Rattlers, passing for 191 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions. Coleman was also sacked twice.
The Rattlers rank fifth in the AFL in scoring offense (54.8). New Orleans sit at 11th of 12 teams (42.7).
VooDoo starting quarterback Adam Kennedy exited last weekend’s game with a shoulder injury. He’s ruled out for Saturday’s game.
First-year coach Dean Cokinos has continued to tweak the roster on offense and defense, searching for the right combination of playmakers and players dedicated to an improved franchise work ethic.
“Every game is learning, and we overcame (last week),” said Cokinos. “Guys stepped up. It was good to see them win. All the hard work they put in. Really, we want to keep the momentum going, stay together and we’ll keep building.”
Reader, a Prunedale, California, native who played college football at Idaho, has continued to adjust to newly-signed options at receiver. Roger “Spiderman” Jackson, a New Orleans native, as well as Jackie Chambers, combined with Kentwood native Carlese Franklin and Chris Duvalt to give Reader options around the field, while linebacker Roosevelt Falls proved he could still run the ball — like he did at Louisiana Tech — finishing with 39 yards and a franchise-record five touchdowns.
Falls’ rushing occurred near the goal line where the VooDoo had struggled to score.
“I hope (this week) is just like last week, where we pick up where he left off on offense,” Reader said. “Arizona is a great team. They’ve won the title three years in a row … We’re going to have to play a great game.”
The VooDoo also signed backup quarterback Sam Durley, a rookie.