New Orleans VooDoo fullback Roosevelt Falls enters Friday night’s matchup against the Cleveland Gladiators at the Smoothie King Center ready for more growing pains. Or timely improvements.
Either way, Falls said he believes in the path set forth by first-year coach Dean Cokinos, even if their 2-9 record has been less kind. Changes for the better are being made weekly, daily, Falls insists. It’s just that it takes quite a few to surpass a history of losing, which the VooDoo has suffered through in recent seasons.
“You just don’t come into a program that’s been losing for years, and all of a sudden, turn it around,” said Falls, who has split time between fullback and on defense, middle linebacker and jack linebacker.
“There’s always bumps; there’s always a defining moment where someone steps up or the team comes together enough and that’s what Coach has been doing.
“He’s been switching guys out and playing this guy, and sitting this guy. He’s trying to get the team to a point where he’s got everybody on the same page, and we’re one mind in one accord.”
The road to wins has been elusive, as the VooDoo enter Friday’s home game with a five-game losing streak.
Last week’s 62-41 loss at the Philadelphia Soul marked the latest example. After exiting the locker room tied at 27-27, the VooDoo were outscored 14-0 in the third quarter. The VooDoo tried to rally late. Charles McClain’s score from 1 yard trimmed the deficit to seven with 7:50 left in the fourth quarter. But the VooDoo allowed two scores, including a 45-yard TD pass from Dan Raudabaugh to Shaun Kauleinamoku, in the final minute.
On April 2, the VooDoo lost 70-42 at home against Cleveland, and 64-42 on the road May 15.
Adam Kennedy, in his return after a shoulder injury, threw for 270 yards and four TDs on 27-for-42 passing. He also threw three interceptions.
“In our hearts, on this team, we know we’re winning right now,” said Falls, who has rushed 28 times this season for 64 yards and seven scores, all team highs. His five-TD game May 2 against Spokane sparked the VooDoo’s last win. “Because we’re working hard, everything is being put together. It’s not just about this year, but the years to come for the program.”
Former VooDoo defensive lineman Mike Alston, now with Cleveland, leads the Gladiators with 41/2 sacks. Cleveland quarterback Shane Austin has passed for 3,040 yards with 65 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.