Dennis Gile, the Blitz's newest quarterback, has plenty of experience and plenty of good numbers in his career.
And he's ready to unleash his skills to help Bakersfield's af2 arena football team.
"I feel like, for the first time in my career, I've got a hold of the game," said Gile, a former Central Missouri State standout who has also played backup quarterback for two teams in arena football's highest level -- the Arizona Rattlers and Utah Blaze in the Arena Football League. "I feel like I can take control, not just physically, but mentally."
Gile credits the work he's done with Sherdrick Bonner, considered one of the greatest Arena Football League quarterbacks of all time, with bringing his game to its highest level. Gile was Bonner's backup when they were teammates with the Rattlers.
"He's been around me since I was in high school," Gile said. "He's really helped me a lot."
Gile signed a contract and joined the Blitz last week, shortly after the Blitz traded returning quarterback Alex Neist to the Manchester Wolves.
Gile has been a nomad in his professional career, spending 11/2 seasons with Saskatchewan in the Canadian Football League, a tryout with the New England Patriots and the indoor experience with Arizona and Utah, and then af2 playing time at Green Bay and Tulsa.
So he isn't fazed about joining a new team and having to learn all about his new teammates.
"I'm at a point in my career that I've been to so many different places, it doesn't bother me," Gile said. "I'm here to play football. I was born to do that. It's second nature. I know the game."
Gile had to leave his family in Phoenix to join the Blitz.
"I talked it over with my wife and said, 'Let's give it one more shot,'" Gile said. "I'm ready to play. That's why I came here. I wouldn't have left my family if I wasn't going to play."
Gile did not play in last Saturday's 48-45 Blitz victory over Tri-Cities (Wash.). Blitz coach Gary Compton said Gile will make his debut with Bakersfield on Saturday, when the Blitz (2-0) plays its home opener vs. the Stockton Lightning.
"We need to get him into the mix," Compton said, adding that he was still undecided whether Gile or Chad Elliott, last week's starter, would see the most snaps on Saturday.
Gile isn't a new face to all the Blitz players. Wide receiver DeRonn Finley said he's known Gile for years and is excited the two are playing together again. They were teammates at Green Bay.
"I met Dennis when I worked out with the Rattlers," said Finley, who is starting his second season with the Blitz. "I know he's smart. He's got a good arm, he's extremely knowledgeable of the game and Sherdrick Bonner is his mentor.
"He's the guy who got me into arena football, Finley said. "He was playing at Green Bay. I was sitting at home on the couch. We worked out together in Arizona and he called his coach right then and told them to get me."
Gile wasn't with the Blitz when Finley scored five touchdowns in the season-opening 58-52 win over Laredo (Texas).
Last Saturday, the Blitz improved to 2-0 when Steve Baker's late field goal broke a tie and the Blitz defense withstood a last-ditch scoring threat in the 48-45 win over Tri-Cities.
Gile said he likes what he sees of his new team.
"There's a lot of potential," he said. "It's just a matter of coming together as one. A lot of guys are new to the team. We've got some veterans, too. With the talent we have, there's no reason we can't win the whole way.
"We're fighting like cats and dogs to win games. A few plays here and there we need to make and the ballgame won't be close. It's not any one player, it's coming together as one."
As a newcomer to the offense, Gile faces his own challenges. But a lot of those issues will sort themselves out once he gets familiar with the Blitz personnel, he said.
"From a quarterback's perspective, you've got to understand where the receivers will be, how they run their routes, and the linemen need to know how long before a quarterback throws," he said.
In two seasons at Division II Central Missouri State, Gile threw for 4,741 yards and 40 touchdowns, completing 313-of-562. The 40 TDs ranks fourth on the school's all-time career list; the completions rank fifth and the passing yards is No. 6. He threw for 2,471 as a junior in 2001, the fifth-best single-season total in school history, and he had a 99-yard TD pass in the 2001 Mineral Water Bowl that set a school record.