Backing a second indoor professional football team in eight years, Bricktown Brawlers owner Dale Morris vows not to repeat any of the mistakes he made with his last team. Largely overlooked or outright ignored by pro scouts, the same can be said for most of the players on his roster.
Were trying to get them the look they didnt get or the one they deserved to get to get to the Canadian or National Football League level, said Morris, who also owns the West Texas Roughnecks. Thats what were all about.
Morris is trying to fill a niche that he said was poorly carved out by the Arena Football Leagues Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz and their predecessors. He hopes the club will excel in areas where he said the Yard Dawgz fell short: maximizing corporate sponsorship dollars, solidifying community relations and signing marquee talent.
This is definitely a football state, said head coach Will McCarthy said. Were trying to get everyone to come out and definitely support us. Everyone supports a winner. The better the record, the more everyone will come out and see it.
In the Indoor Football League, teams are required to turn in a 25-man roster beforehand. From that, teams must choose 21 players to dress.
The talent level is very good.
For every one guy that actually gets a chance to go to training camp, theres another 20 guys that might have been just as good that just didnt get a shot, McCarthy said. At some point, it becomes a numbers game, and kids get kind of get lost in the mix because there are only so many that can go NFL or CFL.
Already, interesting subplots exist on this team, which will be led by former Georgia Tech quarterback Reggie Ball. University of Central Oklahoma standout running back Ben Birmingham was a late addition. University of Oklahoma football fans may notice a trio of former Sooners on the roster, including defensive linemen Lawrence Moe Dampeer and Steven Coleman, as well as wide receiver Tristen Ross.
The highly recruited Dampeer never panned out at Oklahoma, battling weight issues and questions about his off-season work ethic. The Brawlers have the 6-foot-4 noseguard listed at 400 pounds, and Morris said the indoor league is all about guys like Dampeer.
The guys that seem like they deserve something, those gentlemen are easy to spot and and arent the ones we keep, Morris said. The ones that strive to work and have talent, we want to showcase that. A sense of entitlement is something we want checked at the door.
The Brawlers will play half of a 14-game slate inside the Cox Convention Center.