SIOUX CITY | Erv Strohbeen knows how important it is to protect home turf. A win Saturday would give the Sioux City Bandits a 2-0 start and a strong opening statement to the season.
"We are opening the season on a little home stretch so we have to take advantage of that," he said. "You cannot play from behind in this league and attain your goals."
The Bandits game against Omaha was the lone CIF game to open the season last week as Sioux City rolled to a 63-44 win. Strohbeen was pleased with the performance but eager to see what improvements his team makes from week one to week two.
Saturday, the Bandits welcome a new member of the Champions Indoor Football league to the Tyson Events Center as the Bismarck Bucks play their first game.
"They are signing a lot of guys that played D-I and they have a big-name quarterback," Strohbeen said. "They look to have a good team."
The Bucks will be led by quarterback Jonathan Bane, who was the 2015 offensive player of the year for the Richmond Raiders of the PIFL. They also boast several other players with indoor experience.
Strohbeen said it is a different kind of challenge to prepare for a team with no film to look at but it is not a significant worry.
"Each week we prepare to execute what we do in a ballgame," he said. "Hopefully they are having to adjust to us.
"We are going to have to figure out what they like to run on the fly. We have been doing this long enough we know how to prepare for mobile quarterbacks, guys that like to throw the ball, guys that like to run the ball."
Quarterback Taylor Genuser was solid in his Bandits debut going 11 of 18 for 131 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.
New Bandit Dominique Carson was the special teams player of the week in the league after returning the opening kickoff of the season 55 yards for a touchdown. The Bandits have set a goal this season to have at least one return touchdown per game. With Frederick Bruno also returning kicks that seems like a realistic challenge.
Devon Bridges was named the defensive player of the week after recording two sacks and a fumble recovery. Sioux City's defense had seven tackles for loss and three sacks while breaking in several new players last week.
"We have guys that aren't typical big defensive lineman and that is the way we like to roll with it," Strohbeen said. "Westly Johnson is a newcomer to the game and has some stuff to learn, but he is 220 pounds and no one can get their hands on him hardly. Devon Bridges coming from the other side is a relentless guy coming after the quarterback."
Strohbeen was happy with the end result last Saturday but he has had his team focus on the small details preparing for the Bucks.
"Little techniques blocking-scheme wise, we have got to get better blocking with our receivers," he said. "We have to get better with our quarterback reads. We have great athletes they just have to get in the right spots."
Sioux City has an early bye week following the game with the Bucks.