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Fleet players demonstrate importance of physical activity

Fleet players demonstrate importance of physical activity By The Alliance Staff The Alliance of American Football is about reaching out to the community. And it’s also about staying healthy. The San Diego Fleet demonstrated how dedicated they are to both principles Friday when 13 members of the team visited the Dr. David C. Walker Elementary School in San Antonio to meet and entertain more than 100 students. The players taught them some of the football drills they do every day and talked about the importance of exercise. Most of the students had never met a professional football player and they all loved the experience. The players had a pretty good time as well. The Fleet event was one of three Friday outreach projects in San Antonio, the training camp site of all eight Alliance teams as they prepare for the inaugural season, which begins February 9 with two 8 p.m. games on CBS: The San Diego Fleet at San Antonio Commanders, and the Atlanta Legends at Orlando Apollos. Earlier in the day, the hometown San Antonio Commanders partnered with Operation Homefront to bring a little joy to the community. On Friday, a platoon of Commanders helped distribute Legos for children on military bases across the southwest. The Legos will be sent to 19 locations in Texas and Louisiana. In December, Good Morning America donated 8,000 Lego sets and now the toys are ready to find a home. Also, the Atlanta Legends and San Antonio Commanders visited the University Children’s Hospital in San Antonio. The Legends joined with the Commanders to interact with children in various activities. Together, the players helped create Valentine’s Day arts and crafts, played games, and visited children in their hospital rooms. One day, three teams, dozens of lives touched. That’s what The Alliance is all about. # # # The Alliance of American Football’s inaugural season begins February 9 with two 8 p.m. games on CBS: The San Diego Fleet at San Antonio Commanders, and the Atlanta Legends at Orlando Apollos. Get your tickets here.      

The Legends bring joy to local San Antonio Children’s Hospital

The Legends bring joy to local San Antonio Children’s Hospital By Jaylon Thompson / The Alliance SAN ANTONIO – The Atlanta Legends visited the University Children’s Hospital in San Antonio Friday to spread cheer and lend their time to those in need. The Legends joined with the San Antonio Commanders to interact with children in various activities. Also, The Alliance head of football development Hines Ward was in attendance. Together, the players helped create Valentine’s Day arts and crafts, played games, and visited children in their hospital rooms. At each step, the Legends put smiles on the children’s faces. It was a joyous time as players learned more about the kids and what they are battling each day. It was an impactful event for many players. They were grateful for the chance to give back and help bring positive vibes in the process. “It’s a great feeling to be around and see the impact you can have on a kid,” Legends receiver James Clark said. “I am blessed to come out here and have this opportunity.” Throughout the day, the players helped make crafts that stayed with the patients. They also helped design personalized travel cups. In the game room, the players played games like Ping Pong Bounce among others. “It was a lot of fun and it makes you feel like a kid again,” Clark said. “Just to see the smile you put on their face by interacting with them is a great experience.” The children enjoyed the special visit. Each kid was happy to see the players and elated they spent a little time getting to know their stories. According to Jennifer Ibarra, the program manager for Child Life at University Health System, she was glad to see The Alliance giving back to the community. “It means everything to say hello and interacting with them,” Ibarra said. “Making that connection is special for the families and the kids. They know the players are doing their job and also taking the time to come visit with them.” The University Children’s Hospital is the Level 1 trauma hospital for pediatrics in South Texas. They get patients from all over the state. The ability to bring joy to the children is something that is a key outreach for the department. “Our job is to try to provide normalcy and a positive impact that brings smiles to the patients,” Ibarra said. Legends long snapper Jeff Overbaugh agrees. He was happy to help the kids have a moment to take their minds off their situation. “It’s awesome to give them a little break from what they are going through,” Overbaugh said. “It’s cool to see a smile on their face and have a conversation.” # # # Jaylon Thompson covers the Atlanta Legends for The Alliance of American Football. You can follow him on Twitter @JaylonThompson. # # # The Atlanta Legends home games will be played at Georgia State Stadium. Fans can purchase season tickets for as low as $75 at www.atlantalegends.com or by calling 470-798-3330.  

‘Stacking Those Blocks’: Iron DB Trovon Reed’s confidence is rubbing off on the team

‘Stacking Those Blocks’: Iron DB Trovon Reed’s confidence is rubbing off on the team By Marq Burnett / The Alliance SAN ANTONIO — Trovon Reed is confident. When facing the Birmingham Iron’s receivers in practice each day, Reed let’s his secondary mates and the wide outs know that the stiffest competition they’ll face all season is each other. That may come out as a slight to the other teams, but it’s not. Reed is just confident in his guys. A former Auburn standout, Reed spent the majority of his collegiate career as a wide receiver before making the switch to defense as a senior. From 2015-18, Reed spent time with the Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis (L.A.) Rams, Miami Dolphins, San Diego (L.A.) Chargers and the San Francisco 49ers. “He’s very experienced. He’s very savvy. He’s got a great feel for the game,” Lewis said. “He’s got good size, and all his athletics and gymnastics are good. Really looking for him to take a leadership role and continue to bring these young guys along with him because he’s got all the tools.” We caught up with Reed following practice to get his thoughts on camp and much more. What’s camp been like for you? Reed: “It’s been great to get back out here with the guys, play football guy and be around some brothers. Meet some guys I never met before and build bonds. It’s the biggest fraternity in history so I’m excited to be out here.” How has it been playing with some of your old Auburn guys? Reed: “It feel like we’re back in the old days. Just to be on the field with those guys and feel that camaraderie again, that brotherhood is still there. I love it.” We’ve seen a lot of good battles between the receivers and DBs. Who do you think is winning those battles so far? Reed: “The DBs (laughs). Those guys are great, man. We’re pushing each other everyday and getting better. We tell each other everyday that we are the best competition we’re going to go against. We don’t look at other team’s rosters. We’re going against each other to make each other better.” How have the quarterbacks looked from your perspective? Reed: “All of them have their different strengths. They’re great at what they do. Those are my guys, and I’m rooting for them.” How good can this defense be? Reed: “Real good. We just have to keep stacking the days and make each one count.” # # # Marq Burnett covers the Birmingham Iron for The Alliance of American Football. You can follow him on Twitter @Marq_Burnett

Commanders lend hand to Operation Homefront

Commanders lend hand to Operation Homefront By Jaylon Thompson / The Alliance SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Commanders partnered with Operation Homefront to bring a little joy to the community. On Friday, a platoon of Commanders helped distribute Legos for children on military bases across the southwest. The Legos will be sent to 19 locations in Texas and Louisiana. In December, Good Morning America donated 8,000 Lego sets and now the toys are ready to find a home. “We are giving back to our military families and also our kids,” Operation Homefront program coordinator Rebekah Reyes said. “(Children) are part of it, and they sacrifice as well. This is a little happiness to them and a thank you for what you give as well.” Several players were eager to give back to the community. They arrived early to help set up boxes and bond as a unit. According to linebacker Nick Temple, the opportunity to help those in need was something he couldn’t turn down. “I just want to give back to the community wherever I am at to let them know it’s not all about football,” Temple said. “It’s more than football as it’s for the kids. I am always willing to give back to kids and see a smile on their face.” The Commanders hope to continue helping in the community. This is the first step as they build a relationship with those in the surrounding San Antonio area. “The bonding that we have will stay with us on and off the field,” Temple said. Reyes agrees. She is happy that The Alliance is making a difference to those that need it the most. “It’s amazing that they are out there and are helping the community and supporting our military families,” Reyes said. # # # Jaylon Thompson covers the Atlanta Legends for The Alliance of American Football. You can follow him on Twitter @JaylonThompson. # # # The Alliance of American Football’s inaugural season begins February 9 with two 8 p.m. games on CBS: The San Diego Fleet at San Antonio Commanders, and the Atlanta Legends at Orlando Apollos. Get your tickets here.      

Stallions ‘balled out’ in joint practice with Memphis Express

Stallions ‘balled out’ in joint practice with Memphis Express By Chantel Buchi / The Alliance The second joint practice for the Salt Lake Stallions started off like the first. A cool drizzle of rain, a Polynesian chant from Matt Asiata to hype up the team and individual team warmups before coming together with the Memphis Express to start off with punt returns. For the beginning of the 7-on-7 drill, cornerback C.J. Smith swatted a ball and linebacker Blake Nelson intercepted former UT Martin quarterback Troy Cook’s pass. The defense started strong, only allowing the Express to throw short passes. When the Stallions offense was up, quarterback Josh Woodrum connected with wide receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El and quarterback B.J. Daniels completed a pass down the middle to wide receiver Sam Mobley. When the roles were switched again, linebacker Luke Carrezola deflected a pass, defensive back Jeremiah Johnson deflected a catch and the run defense was solid. “The defense, in particular, played really well,” head coach Dennis Erickson said. “The pass defense did really well. Our corners are playing well. Will Davis from Utah State is probably playing as good as anybody.” Davis was running off adrenaline by the end of the joint practice and was proud of his performance. “The secondary balled out, nobody can question that,” Davis said. “It was just a blessing being out there with these guys and having another day killing it. I took care of my assignments. Covered everyone I needed to cover. No catches. Locked down, like usual.” With the ball back on the Stallions offensive side, plays were being made left and right. Woodrum set the tone with a 25-yard throw to Pierson-El. Next, running back Aaron Duckworth slipped through the defense with ease. Then, quarterback Matt Linehan completed a 40-yard pass to wide receiver Dres Anderson. The Stallions went wild when tight end Tanner Balderee caught an over-the-shoulder pass down the field. The offense was making big plays with catches up the middle. After the Stallions defense stopped the Express’ run game, it was red-zone time. The Stallions scored three touchdowns: running back Joel Bouagnon caught a screen pass from Daniels, Linehan completed a pass to tight end Tyler Hoppes and Bouagnon ran it in. When it was the Stallions defense’s turn to step on the field, safety Micah Hannemann was ready. He intercepted former Troy quarterback Brandon Silvers twice. Toward the end of practice, the offense lost a little bit of their touch, but Daniels is confident the Stallions can be better. “We can tighten up on our fundamentals and our two-minute drills at the end of halves. I think if we focus on that, we can have a complete package of a team and an explosive offense,” Daniels said. # # # Chantel Buchi covers the Salt Lake Stallions for The Alliance of American Football. You can follow her on Twitter @Chantelbuchi # # # The Salt Lake Stallions open their season on February 10 with a visit to Arizona Hotshots. The Salt Lake Stallions open their home schedule on February 23 hosting the Arizona Hotshots. Get your tickets here: https://aaf.com/salt-lake-stallions/tickets/

Couplin emerging as a leader in Apollos’ speedy secondary

Couplin emerging as a leader in Apollos’ speedy secondary By Tom Alexander, Orlando Apollos Team Reporter SAN ANTONIO — Orlando Apollos training camp is about halfway finished, and the defense has been the shining star of the team. The secondary has been especially impressive, both in team drills and in this week’s joint practice with the Arizona Hotshots. Apollos defensive coordinator Bob Sanders says there are a few leaders emerging in each part of the defense. “We’ve got some guys in the secondary that have been around a while, Will (Hill III) and Jerome (Couplin III) and those guys, they’ve done a good job on the back end, Terence (Garvin) and Reggie (Northrup II) there at linebacker, they’ve done a good job, and Jerel (Worthy) up front. We’ve had some guys step up, but we’re looking for more,” Sanders said following Friday’s practice. We spoke with Couplin III about the progress the defense has made so far in camp. The William & Mary product spent parts of four years in the NFL, including two times with the Detroit Lions and stints with the Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams. He also spent time with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the CFL. Q: Second week of training camp, how are you feeling so far? A: Feeling good. The defense is coming together. Guys are flying around now, not thinking as much, understanding the concepts better, the schemes better. Now guys are being able to start being more football players instead of robots because (earlier in camp) you’re thinking too much. Q: You’ve been in the NFL, you went to the CFL for a little bit. How does this compare as far as an experience goes? A: I’ve been telling people, it kind of reminds me a lot of being in the NFL. Having the coaches with the mindsets they have, how our meetings are set and how we’re getting things done. It kind of reminds me more of a NFL camp as far as meetings, walk-throughs and stuff like that. Q: What are you trying to do or accomplish on a daily basis at training camp? A: Right now, just alignment, assignment, technique and effort, of course. Understanding what I’m supposed to do within the defense, making my checks and my calls as a safety and just having fun. Q: You seem like you’ve been a vocal leader on the defense so far — do you pride yourself on being that guy? A: Yeah, but at the same time, as a safety you kind of naturally have to because we’re the guys back there, as Coach Bob (Sanders) says, we’re the quarterbacks. We’ve got to make sure guys get the whole entire call, whether it’s on my side or the opposite side, guys in front of me, a guy who’s on the line. So, it’s kind of natural, because if you’re not vocal as a safety, it’s hard to play the position in general. Q: I’ve noticed you’ve also been vocal even to the offensive guys. When they do something well that you see, you give them props for that. […]

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