Big turnout for final tryout
SIOUX CITY | It was a productive Sunday morning on the football field for the Sioux City Bandits.
Holding its final open tryout, the Bandits enjoyed a large turnout and took advantage of the extra time on the fast surface at the Tyson Events Center to run through more than a few pages of the playbook.
"We had a heck of a turnout with 45 or 50 guys," Bandits Coach Erv Strohbeen said. "Some we had signed from previous tryouts and some we had already signed, but it was nice to get in here and see how far our kickers could kick and our quarterbacks could throw.
"The last hour of the tryout we were able to get our guys in there and run our offensive plays, and never at a tryout have we been able to do that."
The nine players that got their invite to training camp will now try to be one of the 30 to35 players that make the final roster before the Bandits begin the season March 15 in Bloomington, Ill. The exact number of players comprising the final roster has yet to be set in the Champions Professional Indoor Football League.
There were players with varying backgrounds looking to impress coaches on both sides of the ball on Sunday.
"We signed eight or nine guys and they are all quality guys," Strohbeen said. "We saw quite a few Wayne State guys so that was nice to see."
Strohbeen was able to add some area talent to the roster and picked up a couple of linemen on the way, which was one of the biggest objectives coming into the tryout.
"Linemen are hard to find so we didn't have as many as we would like, but there was quality there," he said. "I think we added to the offensive firepower signing a couple of good wide receivers."
Strohbeen said defensive back was another position that impressed him during live action on Sunday.
The success the Bandits have enjoyed has led to better competition to gain roster spots in recent years.
"When we were a 4-10 team it is kind of hard to get guys to want to sellout and come play for you," Strohbeen said. "When you have had the kind of success we have had all the guys want to come back and keep playing and winning the ring."
With training camp beginning Feb. 9, Strohbeen said allowing players to get experience in the Tyson Events Center will pay big dividends.
"A lot of the guys we signed today had never even seen the Tyson Center," he said. "Getting in here is also a good recruiting tool when we bring them up here and talk about giving them a contract. Most of them come from small colleges where this is big time for them.
"We wanted to see how our guys were going to run on this turf because that is what they are going to be playing on."
Now attention will begin to shift toward doing the same thing the Bandits have done the past two seasons -- winning every game and a championship.
"We have a good mix of returning guys and veterans and young, hungry players," Strohbeen said. "We are looking for 30 to 35 hungry players looking to win every Friday or Saturday night."