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Columbus Lions to use bye week to rest, work on weaknesses

The Columbus Lions, along with the rest of the Professional Indoor Football League, is off this week as a part of the Easter holiday.

The bye week comes at the one-third mark of the 2012 season for the Lions, with Columbus sporting a 2-2 record and sitting in third place in the PIFL standings.

"The bye week came at a good time for everybody," said Lions coach Jason Gibson. "Easter weekend is a tough weekend to sell because everybody's out of town, so the league got it right by not playing any games this weekend.

"Plus, we've got some guys who are banged up and the bye week gives us a chance to go over some things. We've been going at it since the end of February, so a week off should rejuvenate everybody."

The Lions lost their last game before the bye week, dropping a 63-60 decision to the Alabama Hammers at the Columbus Civic Center to snap a two-game winning streak.

Despite the loss, Gibson said he feels good about where his team is at heading into the second third of the season.

"We could easily be 1-3 or 4-0," said Gibson. "To be 2-2 playing as bad as we're playing, I'll take it. We've played as bad as we can play in each game and we've still won two games. If we were 2-2 and playing really well with every ounce of energy we had, I'd be worried. But right now, there's nowhere to go but up."

The Lions' roster features 18 rookies, but they still have the PIFL's top passing offense (262.5 yards/game), total offense (271.2 ypg), pass efficiency (104.1), first downs (84) and sacks (8) and the No. 2 scoring offense (59.5 points/game), and turnover margin (+3) as well.

However, Gibson said his team has the potential to be so much better.

To that end, the Lions have signed kicker Trey Crum -- the Southern Indoor Football League's Special Teams Player of the Year in 2011 -- to help address the team's special teams issues.

Columbus was just 1-for-4 on field goals and 17-for-25 (68 percent) on extra points through the first four games.

"Offensively, obviously we're playing well," said Gibson. "But we're not playing well on defense and special teams. We're bringing back (Crum) and he's good for nine or 10 points every game. We lost our last game by three points and (Alabama) had two field goals. Against Richmond, we lost by six points and they had three field goals.

"Our opponents are getting points that we're accustomed to getting. Once we get our defense and special teams to come around, I'm not worried about how good we can be."

The Lions are back in action April 14, hosting the Louisiana Swashbucklers (1-2) at the Columbus Civic Center. Kickoff for the game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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