Outlaws Notebook: Home Field on the Line

Photo Credit:  Di Miller

On August 6, the MLL held their weekly Coaches Conference Call and Denver Outlaws Head Coach B.J. O’Hara was asked about the team’s win over the Chesapeake Bayhawks last week.

“We didn’t know what to expect when the game started from Chesapeake being that they weren’t playing for a play-off spot. We got up on them in the first half pretty good, and then at halftime we were in pretty good shape. But knowing Head Coach Dave Cottle like I do, and knowing the people they had in uniform we had a pretty good suspicion that they’d come back at us strong, and they surely did. We had trouble at the ‘X’ and they had an awful lot of possession time but our guys hung in and made plays in the fourth quarter and sealed the victory.”

How about facing the New York Lizards Saturday with home-field advantage on the line?  He said:

“Yeah, I think it’s exciting for both teams and certainly for the league that so much is riding on the last game of the season. In the last couple of years, that final game didn’t have as much importance riding on it. New York is an awfully, awfully impressive offensive team. They come at you from a lot of different places; matchups are going to be key. The face-off thing is certainly something that we struggled with last week and we’re going against one of the very best FOGO’s in Greg Gurenlian, so we’re going to have to come up with some solutions there, better than we did last week.”

How will the team address who takes face-offs?  Coach O’Hara commented:

“All of the above (laughter). We’ve looked at it; we’ve been scouring through the player pool. We actually were on the edge of making a couple of moves in that regard, but it wasn’t going to work in terms of availability for those particular players. A couple of guys that actually have pretty good MLL experience, but that kind of fell through. We actually did pick up a young man from Princeton this week, named Jeff Froccaro, who was in the player pool.  He’s a pretty good face-off guy—he’s more than just a face-off guy. Jeff will be in uniform. We’re going to bring rookie FOGO Brent Hiken in again. Midfielder Justin Pennington will be available this week, along with Dillon Roy. Hopefully we can face-off by committee and hold our own. You can lose 28 face-offs and still win a game, you don’t want to make a habit of it, but that’s the way it went last week. So hopefully we’ll come up with some solutions that will even it up a little bit better this week.”

Are you still hoping to have FOGO Anthony Kelly back for the play-offs?  He said:

“Yeah, we’ve had pretty steady dialogue with his physician and our trainer and he’s undergoing a very rigorous treatment and rehabilitation protocol. He’s very optimistic and we have our fingers crossed. He definitely hasn’t been ruled out.

How did you feel when John Grant Jr. broke the MLL’s all-time career goals record?  Here’s what he had to say:

“I think what was interesting, I saw the replay of the game and when they were interviewing John after he’d broken the record, he had no idea. That kind of speaks to where he’s at. He’s most concerned with ultimately leading the team to the championship. That’s why we brought him in. So far he’s been a real mainstay for us—both on the field and in the dressing room. He’s really evolved as a team leader and a person that the guys look up to. I’m really happy for him. He’s a pretty modest guy for being as dynamic as he is as a player.”

The last question to Coach O’Hara was how important is Eric Law to the Denver Outlaws? He responded by saying

“Eric is, I think, one of the more complete Attackmen in the league. He does it all—he’s a good dodger at the goal, he’s got good vision to distribute, he’s pretty good off the ball. For us, he gives us good balance, with John being a lefty, Eric gives us good balance behind on that right side. He, along with Chris Bocklet, is a finisher. We’ve got such a balanced attack group and they seem to be meshing together real well. I know he really enjoys playing with John Grant a lot, and they work for each other and it’s been exciting to see.”

As the In Lacrosse We Trust Beat Writer for the Denver Outlaws, I’d like to thank them for their assistance and professionalism as an MLL franchise.  As always, they are a pleasure to work with.