Reporting Matt Leon
By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – There are still four games left in the regular season for the Philadelphia Soul, but they have already accomplished quite a lot here in 2012. Sitting at 11-3, Philadelphia has clinched the Arena Football League’s Eastern Division and home field advantage throughout the American Conference playoffs.
“We’re really excited about it,” head coach Doug Plank tells KYW Newsradio. “We’re excited because of what happen last year. The Philadelphia Soul finished last in the division and didn’t go to the playoffs. So we really felt like we needed to make some changes and I think everyone inside the organization, we’re real excited about the possibilities for the end of the season.”
Listen to Matt Leon’s interview with Doug Plank:
The first of these final four regular-season games will be Sunday night for the Soul, as they host the Pittsburgh Power. The Soul beat the Power back in Week #2 on March 23rd, 84-59, but Plank says that game was a long time ago.
“I think it’s really a different world. There’s a different head coach. The head coach that started the season has been relieved so we’re looking at a different head coach, we’re looking at a different offensive coordinator. So it puts us really in a situation where, although we’re playing Pittsburgh for the second time (and) most of the players are going to remain the same, but from a philosophy standpoint and schemes this team is different than what we saw early in the season.”
With everything clinched so early, there is always the concern about keeping players sharp so they are peaking come playoff time. Plank is confident they will be able to do just that.
“I think when you are playing the sport of football, it’s so physical and it’s aggressive. So you really need to maintain those sort of attributes going through these games. I think our players, they realize what’s at stake and they realize that we need to finish on a positive note – winning games not losing games.”
However, Plank says still having these four regular season games on the docket allows the team the opportunity to experiment a bit.
“We can try some coverages and different plays on offense that we really haven’t run or executed during the course of the season. This just gives us an opportunity to maybe even look at a couple other guys at different positions. So it does give us a little bit of liberty to try some things that we haven’t tried before.”
Including Sunday, three of the Soul’s final four regular season games are at home.
Philadelphia and Pittsburgh kickoff at 6:05 on Sunday evening.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.