TAMPA — Dave Ewart promised some personnel changes after the Storm's 54-30 loss Friday to division rival Jacksonville. So the first-year Storm coach is holding an open casting call hoping to find help.
The Storm (1-3), on its bye week before traveling to face Philadelphia on April 15, will hold an open tryout Saturday at the Larry Sanders Progress Village Sports Complex in Tampa.
"We've never held an open tryout during the season before," Ewart said. "But with the bye week it came at a good time. Bottom line is we need to find some guys."
The Storm's preseason open tryout turned out to be fruitful, producing two players who are getting considerable playing time. Former Boca Ciega High standout Michael Lindsey and former Gator Wondy Pierre-Louis were both spotted then. Lindsey is leading the league in kickoff-return average (27.1 yards per game) and kick returns for touchdowns (three), while Pierre-Louis intercepted his first pass last week.
"It's hard to just find guys," Ewart said. "But we're looking for ones like Mike."
Ewart hopes to bolster his list of available players who can compete at the Arena Football League level. With a roster of 24, injuries sometimes make it difficult to practice. In the AFL, players can be brought in on a two-day waiver to work out in hopes of earning a contract.
Help on the Way? The Storm released defensive backs Kreg Brown (Admiral Farragut) and Ken Heatly (Boca Ciega) on Wednesday. Heatly was previously on injured reserve, meaning the Storm has one free roster spot. That slot may be filled by former Storm defensive lineman Tim McGill, who was suspended by the league for the first four weeks of this season. According to league officials, McGill was suspended for violating his AFL player contract. McGill recorded four sacks last season.
Injuries: Linebacker Eric Ortiz, who dislocated his elbow in the season-opening win at New Orleans, is eligible to come off injured reserve next week, and Ewart said Ortiz "should be ready to go" against Philadelphia. Richard Clebert's status for the Soul game remains uncertain after the former USF defensive lineman sprained his knee in practice last week and missed the Jacksonville game.