It’s getting real: Apollos begin two-a-days
By Tom Alexander, Orlando Apollos Team Reporter
SAN ANTONIO — The Orlando Apollos are now in the thick of the training camp grind. The team began its two-a-day practice schedule (morning practice, afternoon walk through) Tuesday at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio. Quarterback Garrett Gilbert, the team’s first-round pick in the Alliance of American Football’s “Protect or Pick” QB Draft, took the field after being re-activated following a stint with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. The Apollos were without guard Jakobi Smith on Tuesday – the team waived the Florida Atlantic University product to make room for Gilbert on the roster.
Here are the three keys from Tuesday’s practice and walkthrough:
- The defense looks sharp
The Apollos defense is clicking in the early going. The unit practiced with intensity Tuesday, looking visibly upset anytime the offense completed a pass or gained yardage during combined drills. Apollos defensive coordinator Bob Sanders has assembled a stingy, hard-nosed group with a lot of pride. There were several contested passes, despite good throws from the Apollos quarterbacks.
- QB competition will be tough
Despite Gilbert’s QB Draft position, Apollos head coach Steve Spurrier says everyone in camp is competing for the starting job. That being said, the competition at quarterback looks tough. All four signal-callers looked sharp Tuesday, but Stephen Morris and Austin Appleby really shone, dropping dimes in one-on-one and seven-on-seven drills.
- The Apollos are starting to gel already
The players are having fun on the field, and they’ve developed a good rapport, even this early in camp. The practices seem to take on the personality of their head coach: focused and ready to work, but still remembering football is a game, after all, and enjoying their time out there.
The Apollos are scheduled to begin full-contact practices Wednesday. We should get a better sense of where this team is in its pursuit of the inaugural Alliance of American Football championship. The Apollos begin the season February 9, when they host the Atlanta Legends at Spectrum Stadium on the UCF campus. The game will be broadcast nationally on CBS, but if you want to see it live, you can get your tickets at: http://bit.ly/ApollosTix