Clipboard replaces football for Stafford

Updated: June 11, 2010, 12:57 PM ET
By Josh Davis | ESPNDallas.com

PLANO, Texas -- Offensive coordinator Shane Stafford wasn't ready to begin his coaching career, instead opening the season as the Dallas Vigilantes' starting quarterback.

But after he suffered a season-ending foot injury in the season opener, Stafford has started looking toward the future and is helping out on the sidelines.

"I'm relishing this situation right now," Stafford said. "I've learned so much over the last two weeks, just as far as preparation and play calls are concerned. It's a different world."

Stafford suffered three broken bones in his foot April 10 against the Tulsa Talons -- the Vigilantes' opponent on Friday night. Two months later, he's still marching up and down the practice field in a walking boot.

"He's done a good job," Vigilantes interim coach James Fuller said. "It's a tough job anytime you catch it in stride, because there's so much you want to change. But you can't really change it all at once. So he's slowly implementing things."

Fuller said he meets constantly with Stafford, a nine-year Arena League veteran.

Faced with a 1-7 record for the season, Stafford said his focus has also been on trying to keep players positive.

"Yeah, it's a challenge. And yes, there's adversity," Stafford said. "But at the same time, cherish that."

The offense seems to be responding to Stafford.

After posting just 38 points against Milwaukee in Stafford's first game as a coach, the Vigilantes responded with 69 points last Saturday. It was the team's highest point tally of the season.

Vigilantes quarterback Collin Drafts also had his best performance of the year, throwing a career-high eight touchdown passes and running for another.

"Things that can help him go from being a good quarterback to dominating this league," Stafford said. "He's so close, but there's little decisions or throws that we emphasize, and it's one or two throws that can win or lose a game."

Noteworthy: The Vigilantes made some roster changes this week after sack-leader Mike Landry left the team to play in the Canadian League. The team added former Cowboys draft pick John Nix and former Carolina Panthers fifth-rounder Gillis Wilson to the defensive line. ... Two-time All-Ironman receiver and defensive back Will Pettis will be active this week.

Josh Davis is an ESPNDallas.com intern and a writer for TCU's student newspaper, the Daily Skiff.

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