10/19/2011 12:41 PM
DL Anthony Hoke plans on taking his game to a new level in Spokane. PHOTO COURTESY OF WORKING MAN PHOTOGRAPHY/CLEVELAND GLADIATORS.
Over the last two seasons, Anthony Hoke has established himself as one of the top pass rushers in the AFL. He earned this reputation by collecting 15 sacks over the last two years, including 2.5 against Spokane in three games.
This year, Hoke will don the blue and orange to “showcase his talent” in hopes of bringing another Championship to Spokane.
1) What made this upcoming season the right time for you to join the Shock?
I visited Spokane and I’ve played there and I love the atmosphere. There aren’t too many places that sellout like Spokane does. The fans are great. I just love the atmosphere. But even beyond that, I don’t want to just be an arena guy. I want an opportunity to move up and I just feel like Spokane is the best place to showcase my talent.
2) For the last two seasons, you have been a visitor to the Spokane Arena and have been booed by our fans. Talk about that experience.
I know the visiting team is down in the far corner of the endzone and those fans are just on you from the beginning to the end. They just don’t quit. They don’t even care if you take the lead or anything; they just ride you and ride you. They are always getting on someone’s case.
3) Now all of those fans who were against you are going to be for you – what does that do for you as a player?
It just makes me want to play even harder. To hear the fans and to see how many fans come to the game to support us, it’s going to make me want to raise my level of play even more.
4) You mentioned that you feel like Spokane is the best place to showcase your talent – why?
I know some players who used to play there and they told me what a great experience they had. Scouts come to the practices and I know they come to all the games. I just want to play for a team that is top notch and I feel like it’s the best place for me to be.
5) For the fans that aren’t familiar with your game, what do you feel like you can add to this team?
I want to make my teammates better as long as they are making me a better player. I know that we are going to have a strong pass rush. I just feel bad for the other team’s quarterback because I’m definitely going to get him.
6) Over the last two seasons you have collected 15 sacks. Do you have a goal for the upcoming season?
As long as I’m in double digits that’s a great season for me. That’s my goal every season. Every year, I want to do better than the previous just to know that I am improving.
7) Describe the feeling you get when you sack a quarterback.
It’s a great feeling. It’s a passing game and you don’t get that many opportunities to get to the quarterback because they get the ball out so quickly. When you do get to the quarterback, it’s like a relief. It’s also a great way for your defense to build momentum and for your offense. It gets the crowd into it and with our crowd, there aren’t a lot of teams that have a chance.
Getting to the quarterback is very difficult; it’s almost like an art when you do get there.
8) You have an impressive football resume but one thing that is missing is a championship. Did that play a part in your decision to come here?
That definitely played a part. I want to move up but if I don’t get that opportunity then I do want to play for a championship. Every year, no matter where you are, you always hear that Spokane is bringing in the best players and they are the favorites. I just want to be a part of that. And if we can bring a championship back to Spokane, I would LOVE to be a part of it.
9) How important is a good secondary to the defensive line?
It’s real important. Most offenses are built around timing – the quarterback is supposed to have three steps and the ball needs to be gone. If the quarterback sees that the coverage is strong, he is going to have to hold it. If the DB’s can give me just an extra second, I will bring that quarterback down and hopefully we will get a turnover or something.
10) Have you had a chance to look over Spokane’s roster?
Yes I have. I played with Travis Williams in BC and during our time there we were able to build a friendship. I played against Jeremy Geathers when he was in Spokane. Right there I know we are building a strong defense.
We have a great d-line and it all starts up front. If we are able to get pressure on the quarterback, it’s just going to make our defense even better. Hopefully, it will create opportunities for our defensive backs to make plays and everyone will be making plays.
I trust that Ryan (Rigmaiden – General Manager) will put the right talent around us and will give us a great chance to win a championship.