Player Chatter: Preseason

April 19, 2023
By Daniel Cohen

“Player Chatter” is a new series consisting entirely of player quotes, thoughts, and feelings from around the league. All current AUDL players were sent a handful of prompts earlier this week designed to be as open-ended as possible. These were their responses:

Central Division

Max Sheppard is the most overrated player in the Central.” Detroit Mechanix player

“Guarding Max Sheppard is an unenviable job. You pretty much have to constantly switch throughout any given point to slow him down, and if you’re stuck on him in any sort of iso space, good luck.” Pittsburgh Thunderbirds player

Paul Arters is top three if not top one thrower in the AUDL.” Nick Pappas, Chicago Union

Andrew ‘The Tax Man’ Sjogren. Whether you like it or not, the Tax Man always collects.” Chicago Union’s Ross Barker, on who the league is sleeping on

“Highmark Stadium is the best venue in the league.” Pittsburgh Thunderbirds player

“I’m going to say Detroit because if they win one game then they exceed their decade over/under of 0.5 wins.” Anonymous AUDL player, on who the league is sleeping on

“Detroit will win a game this year. Typically, Detroit suffers because talented players play in the club scene instead of the AUDL. As a result, many of the strongest Michigan ultimate players don't play for the Mechanix. That remains true for the upcoming season, but there's a lot of new talent from out-of-state. Strong players from Minnesota and Tennessee have joined the roster. Additionally, the core of the Detroit roster remains the same aside from several easily-replaceable players, including Andrew Sjogren (gasp). The addition of new players from outside of the Michigan ultimate community will push Detroit over the edge - an edge they may not otherwise reach without them any time soon. The Thunderbirds, in particular, are in danger.” Detroit Mechanix player

“The Indianapolis AlleyCats. I'll admit, they're looking really strong.” Detroit Mechanix player, on who the league is sleeping on

“Indy AlleyCats.” Atlanta Hustle player, on who the league is sleeping on

“Even though the Union has a lot of new players this year, we will continue to be a problem for other central division teams.” Jerry Kelly, Chicago Union

“Indy wins the Central as the only team to definitely improve in the off-season, Pitt’s youth grows into the season to get back to the playoffs, Chicago figures things out enough to take a spot while Minnesota and Madison miss out.” Clint McSherry, Pittsburgh Thunderbirds

“Things have been a little tense to start the year. Everyone knows that the difference between playoffs and a losing season could come down to a couple points between us, Madison, Indy, Chicago, and Minnesota. With everything balanced on that razor’s edge it’s hard not to feel the pressure at every practice, but I think the coaches and leadership have done well to help us channel it in a productive way. We’re all hungry for that first game.” Pittsburgh Thunderbirds player

“Mechanix are coming out hot this year with a lot of new talent who are ready to dominate the fields this year. This team has been fueled by doubts, jokes, and negativity. Keep 'em coming because when we pluck those Pittsburgh wings on May 12, that's just the beginning. 2023 is our year.” Detroit Mechanix player

“The [team] vibe has generally been gritty and hard working.” Jonathan Mast, Pittsburgh Thunderbirds

“Defiant.” Pittsburgh’s Clint McSherry, on the team vibe

“For Detroit, the vibe is night and day from how it was last year. New faces have brought hope and excitement to the roster, while former players who lowered morale have left.” Detroit Mechanix player

“Offensive efficiency will be at [an] all-time low this season. Year of the defense.” Jonathan Mast, Pittsburgh Thunderbirds

“I’m gonna miss the Jason Vallee matchup, great competitor. I don’t feel like anyone else in the division has really slowed me down.” Clint McSherry, Pittsburgh Thunderbirds

Hunter Latson is going to explode on the AUDL level as soon as he gets a chance.” Nick Pappas, Chicago Union

“I'll eat up any match up.” Jerry Kelly, Chicago Union

“Madison matchups are always circled! No idea what to expect from them this year but they've got the historical reputation.” Jonathan Mast, Pittsburgh Thunderbirds

“All the rookies and role players. The light is always shining on all stars. But what about the consistent players.” Chicago’s Jerry Kelly, on who the league is sleeping on

“People taller than six feet should not be able to jump. Give us short kings a chance.” Jerry Kelly, Chicago Union

“Mechanix are breaking the streak this season and it's going to be as glorious as the Cubs winning the World Series after a 108 year drought!” Detroit Mechanix player

East Division

Ty Barbieri will lead the league in goals.” Jeremy Hill, Toronto Rush

“Our team is built like a puzzle. You have the young core building the border and solid base and then some key pieces slotting in to finish the puzzle.” Jeremy Hill, Toronto Rush

“Positive and supportive. Just a bunch of dudes who have each others backs.” Philadelphia Phoenix player, on the team vibe

“Montreal will challenge for the third playoff spot in the East.” Montreal Royal player

“Much love for [Christophe Tremblay-Joncas] on Royal coming back from the leg injury. Looking forward to seeing how he can lead that new look Royal team.” Jeremy Hill, Toronto Rush

Marques Brownlee is the worst puller in the league and it’s not close. I’m convinced the league changed the pulling rules for this season so that he wouldn’t have to throw the disc as far because he can only keep like two per quarter in bounds.” Anonymous AUDL player

“New York won’t win the championship this year.” Atlanta Hustle player

“The guys on DC need to worry more about guarding hucks than trying to call travels every time I throw one." Anonymous AUDL player

“Not enough teams make it to Championship Weekend. It’s a disservice that teams like the Breeze don’t make it.” Philadelphia Phoenix player

“With Rowan [McDonnell] moving over to D-line I hope to the gods that we will see him match up with [Ryan] Osgar.” Jacob Blackman, Atlanta Hustle

“Good luck to anyone guarding James Pollard and Greg Martin this year.” Philadelphia Phoenix player

“Don’t sleep on players who play mixed in club playing their first AUDL season.” Philadelphia Phoenix player

“Some of the most important players on a team are the people nobody talks about. Everyone loves seeing highlights from a Jack Williams or Rowan McDonnell, and those guys are great at what they do, but it's just as important to have players who can churn the disc without turning it over and create space with consistently good timing. Players who lock people down on D but don't get the highlight reel blocks. The workhorses of the league deserve some recognition too.” Anonymous AUDL player

South Division

“Dallas Legion will make the South Division playoffs.” Alec Wilson Holliday, Dallas Legion

“Houston beats Dallas four times and beats Austin once. Austin beats Carolina twice.” Martin Cruz, Houston Havoc

Grayson Sanner’s absence from the Flyers this season is their biggest loss. I’ve been surprised how overlooked he’s been with the retirement of a few of their stars and the absence of Henry Fisher, but I think the Flyers are losing a top defender in Sanner.” Jacob Blackman, Atlanta Hustle

“Anybody on Carolina is brutal to guard.” Anonymous AUDL player

“I love matching up against Anders Juengst.” Atlanta Hustle player

“Flyers’ Wilson Matthews.” Pittsburgh’s Clint McSherry, on who the league is sleeping on

“The energy coming out of Atlanta has been huge this preseason. Everybody is ready to work at 110 percent for their teammates.” Mike Kobyra, Atlanta Hustle

“The Hustle I think are poised for a big season.” Jonathan Mast, Pittsburgh Thunderbirds

“Carolina won't make it out of the South division.” Atlanta Hustle player

“My little bro [Mark Henke] is going to lead the Sol in blocks this season.” Kyle Henke, Austin Sol

“I think Carolina has as good a chance to take down New York as DC. Joe White is much more dynamic than Henry Fisher for O-line, [Ben Snell] and [Liam Searles Bohs] add size and plus matchups to their D-line, and all their guys have years of past chemistry that can’t be overstated. I certainly wouldn’t want to meet them in the playoffs.” Pittsburgh Thunderbirds player

“Coach Tuba has created his own Ted Lasso effect. The man has created a culture of hard work and positive energy around the clubhouse in a way that I’ve never experienced before.” Jacob Blackman, Atlanta Hustle

“Honestly, the league is sleeping on the Hustle. We lost John [Stubbs] and Khalif [El-Salaam], but the chemistry of this team has advanced so far from last year that the overall team is much better even without those two.” Jacob Blackman, Atlanta Hustle

“The league is sleeping on the Hustle this year, we've got some special things coming soon.” Atlanta Hustle player

Duncan Fitzgerald. Hasn’t been mentioned in any of the articles as being one of the best off-season poaches. O-line starter.” Austin’s Kyle Henke, on who the league is sleeping on

“Super competitive, we're constantly talking trash to each other on the field.” Atlanta Hustle player, on the team vibe 

“Hungry, focused, and determined.” Atlanta Hustle player, on the team vibe

“Hungry and ready to shock the world.” Dallas’ Alec Wilson Holliday, on the team vibe

“Shoutout to the veterans on the Legion roster who [are] helping mold this young team. 14 rookies, but the old heads like [Dan Emmons], [Kevin Richardson], and [Griffin Miller] are turning us young guys into monsters.” Alec Wilson Holliday, Dallas Legion

“The preseason vibe has been great! It's exciting seeing everything come together, especially this being the first AUDL team I've been a part of, but also the first team Houston has had. Media day was super fun. Shoutout Bex!” Martin Cruz, Houston Havoc

“Very familial. Lots of encouragement going around, healthy amount of angst and frustration, but I love the culture. We’re going to have fun no matter what happens this season.” Austin’s Kyle Henke, on the team vibe 

"People have been talking about Atlanta's ‘Tough Schedule’ a lot in the offseason, but I couldn't be more excited. After bouncing around a handful of teams, I get to face two of my three previous teams (IND and NY) and I can't wait for those guys to see what's been building. I'm also very excited to get four more chances to put some Flyers on the wrong side of a highlight reel." Mike Kobyra, Atlanta Hustle

“Austin has a joke of a schedule.” Atlanta Hustle player

“I want to match up against Eric Carter when we play Austin. It's gonna be a track meet when we play. Also I'm just looking forward to playing everyone in the South Division and whomever I matchup against I'm sure it'll be competitive and fun. I think the Austin and Dallas matchups will be exciting especially since many players have played against each other during club and college throughout the years.” Martin Cruz, Houston Havoc

“Love that Dallas and Houston will presumably be a fun rivalry of the bottom two spots in the South, and I’m hopeful not have to eat my words if ever we drop one of our eight games no either of em. Tough thing to do!” Kyle Henke, Austin Sol

“The Houston Havoc’s stadium is top class. It’s gonna be a fun time out there.” Jacob Blackman, Atlanta Hustle

“Looking forward to watching our defense run the show this season. Lots of dawgs on that line, including [Joey Wylie], [Oliver Fay], [Matt Armour], M. Henke. All those guys have improved their game, so exciting to see this preseason!” Kyle Henke, Austin Sol

West Division

“Summit will beat Empire.” Everest Shapiro, Los Angeles Aviators

“Everyone should keep an eye on Colorado vs. the Aviators, as well our last game of the season versus Empire!” Rodrigo Gould Rodriguez, Colorado Summit

“Absolutely amazing, the Aviators are more than a team. We are a family.” LA’s Everest Shapiro, on the team vibe

“Preseason has been tough. I am always getting smoked by high schoolers.” Corbin Atack, Seattle Cascades

“I love Andrew ‘Tweak’ Padula guarding Jonathan Nethercutt. Tweak had one layout D on him last year, I feel at least two coming this year.” Everest Shapiro, Los Angeles Aviators

“I do NOT want that Noah Coolman matchup.” Corbin Atack, Seattle Cascades

Marcel Osborne.” LA’s Everest Shapiro, on who the league is sleeping on

“Colorado Summit for sure!” Colorado’s Rodrigo Gould Rodriguez, on who the league is sleeping on

“Folks are sleeping on the Cascades practice roster [...] They are absolute demons. One can only imagine what they are going to do by the time they are 18.” Corbin Atack, Seattle Cascades

“Minorities stand out for their talent. Diverse people have the ability to compete in this league. The question is: Are we prepared to make them fully part of it?” Rodrigo Gould Rodriguez, Colorado Summit

RingerThe is the funniest ultimate content provider out there. Make sure to check them out on social media!” Everest Shapiro, Los Angeles Aviators


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