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Barnstormers use helmet during AFL game

Article Source - The Des Moines Register

Andy Hamilton, ahamilton@dmreg.com 5:21 p.m. CDT April 26, 2014

The offense carried the Iowa Barnstormers two weeks ago on a night when the defense endured its worst performance of the year.

Then the two sides switched roles last week and the defense did the heavy lifting in a victory against Los Angeles.

Through the first five games of the Arena Football League season, the Barnstormers (3-2) are still waiting for both segments to shoulder an equal load and operate at full strength – and Sunday could be an opportune time with Iowa headed on the road for a game against the Philadelphia Soul (2-3).

"We haven't put all of the pieces to the puzzle together yet," said Marco Thomas, who is fifth in the league with 542 yards receiving. "But when we do it's going to be exciting and it's going to be scary to watch if you're the opponent."

Here are three things to watch Sunday afternoon when the Barnstormers take on Philadelphia, which has won two straight after opening the season 0-3.

TOTAL TEAM EFFORT?

In a span of a week, the Barnstormers went from their worst defensive performance of the year to their best in franchise history, at least from a points-allowed standpoint.

They gave up 34 points in the fourth quarter of a 63-62 win against San Antonio and then followed it up with a 31-12 win last week against Los Angeles. Now Iowa is looking to iron out offensive issues that surfaced in the second half when the Barnstormers managed just three points.

"If you're playing good defense in this league, it's easy to win," said quarterback Carson Coffman, who is fourth in the league with 1,329 yards passing. "I'm definitely excited about that. I'm not very excited about how we played in the second half last week, but I've seen some positive things and improvement every single week, so I'm excited where we're headed."

IOWA VERSUS FORMER IOWA CONFERENCE STANDOUT

Carlos Martinez kicked his way into the Division III record books 12 years ago at Buena Vista, where his 48 career field goals rank second all-time.

After 10 seasons in professional football with eight different teams – and a brief stint as an assistant at Buena Vista mixed in between – Martinez is still kicking. He latched on last year with Philadelphia, connected on 6-of-7 field-goal attempts and earned second-team All-Arena honors.

Martinez is 0-for-2 on field goals this season and 32-of-37 on extra points.

WHAT THE HELMET?

Fans tuning into Sunday's game on ESPN2 could have a virtual look at the game from a player's vantage point.

Players on both teams will wear the SchuttVision Helmet, which is fitted with a camera above the facemask.

Barnstormers defensive back Tramain Thomas wore the helmet last week against Los Angeles.

"I think it's neat," he said. "It'll give people (a view) of what we see out there. It's something (that can help) us learn. It'll give us feedback for what we're looking at and what we should be looking at. … When we're watching film, we can't see that view."

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/sports/football/iowa-barnstormers/2014/04/26/barnstormers-looking-for-balance-against-philadelphia/8191273/

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