Originally created 04/28/00

Neu: Richmond record is deceiving



Mike Neu is not convinced Richmond is a bad team.

Yes, the Speed's record is 0-3, but Richmond has lost all three games by a total of 14 points.

The Augusta Stallions will try to extend the Speed's losing streak to four tonight when they play in Richmond, Va., at 7:30.

"They're 0-3, but that's not indicative of the team they have," the Stallions head coach said. "They've been beaten in a lot of close football games. They've got a good football team."

Richmond nearly won its first game Monday when it took a 54-50 lead on an 8-yard run by Bobby Phillips with 40 seconds remaining. With four seconds left, though, Craig Strickland found Brandon Burnside for a 22-yard touchdown that gave Tulsa the win.

The Stallions (2-1) stumbled around the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center with four first-half turnovers last week. However, they rallied with 27 fourth-quarter points for a 41-33 win against Jacksonville.

"From last week to this week, we've got to eliminate turnovers," Neu said. "We can't afford to have the kind of turnovers we had last week and expect to win the football game."

Another one of Neu's concerns is Richmond quarterback Jimmie Miles.

"Defensively, we've got to get a little more heat on the passer," he said. "This guy's a scrambler. He's got a strong arm, and he's coming off a big game. He's a guy who can hurt you with his arm and his feet."

Also, this will be the Speed's home opener. That brings the tally of home openers the Stallions have played in this season to four.

"They're going to be fired up," Neu said.

Stallions kicker Kraig Baker continues to have a groin problem and was put on short-term injured reserve Wednesday. Chris Chambers, who kicked for the team Friday, will start at kicker.

Through three games, Augusta is averaging 43 points a game and leads the league in total offense (280 yards per game). Quarterback Aaron Sparrow leads the league in passing yards per game (265), total offense (266) and pass rating for quarterbacks with more than 100 pass attempts (115.6). Sparrow has thrown for a league-high 16 touchdowns.

Augusta's offense leads the league in least amount of sacks allowed (one), while the team also leads the league with the fewest penalties (nine).

"Our linemen and fullbacks are continuing to get better," Neu said.

Reach Chris Gay at (706) 868-1222.