BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – The Bimingham Iron, the city’s new professional football team, beat the Memphis Express in week one of the AAF season. Iron head coach Tim Lewis and quarterback Luis Perez met with the media following the 26-0 shutout win at Legion Field.

Former Alabama running back Trent Richardson led the Iron offense with two rushing touchdowns and a two point coversion. Luis threw for more than 252 yards.


Opening statement:

“Thanks for all being here. That was fantastic. I really enjoyed that. That was fun. I want to thank (Express head coach) Mike (Singletary). I really appreciate Mike for bringing his Memphis team down here. My brother’s (Will Lewis) their GM, and they do a fantastic job on preparing their players and putting on a heck of a football game. Our players played fairly well; I really appreciate all of them. Our coaches, I appreciate all the efforts that our team put forth to get this thing done and we did it in a good way. Quick injury update, of course, we got a couple of knees with (TE) Braedon Bowman, (G) Korren Kirven, and (WR) Amba Etta-Tawo, our receiver. We’ll continue to evaluate those, keep you posted. Then we got a lower leg injury with a corner, (DB) Trovon Reed. I’ll keep you all posted and updated on that.

A couple of our guys played really well, looking at the stats, sitting here for the first time looking at the stats I was really excited about some of the things that we did. We didn’t have many explosives at our scrimmage game against Arizona, and we emphasized it in practice and they did a fantastic job. We had a 42-yarder with (WR Quinton) Patton and a 32 yarder with (WR DeVozea) Felton, that was fantastic. So, I thought that worked really well. We try to limit explosives on defense, and we did a good job at that and our defense played really well. They stepped up. Third down, I thought we didn’t do a very good job against Arizona, but we emphasized it and I thought it was fantastic tonight. The guys worked very hard at it. Same offensively, we worked really hard on our third down defenses and they did a great job of doing that. Our punter (Colton Schmidt) and kicker (Nick Novak), I can’t say enough about them. We’ve got two really good ones, and the punter pinned them back there twice at the 20, did a fantastic job. Our kicker, was 4-for-4 and he had short ones and long ones. He’s a great veteran leader for us, and does a great job. Our snapper, (Cole Mazza), does a great job about getting the ball snapped and starting the play. Defensively, we took the ball a couple of times; we took two interceptions and a fumble recovery. We also consider those fourth down stops and we had a couple of those that benefited us and we consider those takeaways, as well. (Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Rick) Minter did a fantastic job of getting those guys ready to go and they performed. They did a fantastic job in their roles that they had.”

On first shutout in AAF 2019 season:

“Oh, it was the first shutout? I haven’t had a chance to watch any of the other games yet. Well, I’ll tell you the defensive coordinator, Rick Minter… we worked really hard putting together a plan with a limited amount of exposure to that team that we had. We didn’t know if they were going to be an empty, wildcat, or throw the ball all night or run it all night. We just had no idea as all the teams go into it in the dark. I thought he did a fantastic job at putting together a defensive package that kept it all in front and inside and tackled the catch, and that’s what we did and got the players to understand it, they bought into it, and executed it.”

On limiting Express QB Christian Hackenberg in the first half:

“Again, it was more of the keep it in front and inside, and tackle the catch philosophy, and we wanted to make sure our edges were solid, that they didn’t run outside of us and make sure they didn’t run it over our heads. We figured if we can keep it inside the white lines and inside of our corners, we would be fine.”

On Iron QB Luis Perez’s performance:

“Luis, I thought he did a great job. He was really on point. He threw the ball very well. He hit the guys that were open and picked the right people. When we did have him calling the game on his own, he did a fantastic job of directing the team. His composure was really good. His poise was good. He’s a very positive leader and a very accurate passer.”