ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — This past Saturday, Empire head coach Tom Menas and new offensive coordinator Ben Bennett coached a new team, with ten new players, with just one practice under their belt. They didn’t know half of the players’ names. Still, they came up just short, falling to West Texas 41-38. This week’s bye will give them a chance to get everyone on the same page, led by their new quarterback, Jonathan Bane.
Bane was claimed off waivers from San Antonio. He went through his first throw around with the team Thursday morning. Empire fans might remember Bane from last season. Albany beat his Carolina team in the championship game.
With 10 years of arena football under his belt, Bane’s will look to bring a steady presence to a young team. “Just bringing that leadership,” said Bane. “These are a bunch of young guys here which is awesome. They’re hungry, they want to learn this game. With coach Menas and coach Bennett, they couldn’t learn from two better guys. I promise you this, were going to make some noise and we’re going to have some fun doing it and get back to the winning ways of the Albany Empire.”
Menas values Bane’s years in the game. “We had to bring in someone who had great experience, great knowledge of the game, and he’s got a big chip on his shoulder from last year’s championship game,” said Menas. “He wants to play his best football in front of the fans of Albany.”
Bennett says it helps having an extension of the coaching staff on the field. “He knows the ins and outs of the game,” said Bennett. “I now don’t have to teach him everything. He can help guys on the field. So if we can become cohesive over the next couple of weeks, all we have to do is get into the dance.”
The Empire will visit Jacksonville for their next game on May 20.