Apollos QB Gilbert happy to get in on the action
By Tom Alexander, Orlando Apollos Team Reporter
SAN ANTONIO — Orlando Apollos quarterback Garrett Gilbert is glad to be “taking aim” once again. The Southern Methodist University product was chosen in the first round of the Alliance of American Football’s “Protect or Pick” QB Draft and attended Apollos mini-camp in December. After that, the NFL’s Carolina Panthers signed Gilbert for the final game of their regular season.
Gilbert briefly saw the field in that game against the New Orleans Saints, relieving the injured Kyle Allen. He completed two of three passes for 40 yards. The Panthers waived Gilbert after the season ended, and the Apollos re-activated him Monday when he cleared league protocols.
We caught up with Gilbert after the Apollos’ morning practice at the University of the Incarnate Word Tuesday.
Q: What do you think about the offense so far?
A: I’m really excited about it. As I said in the lead up to all this stuff, we’ve got a chance to be really good, and we’ve kind of put those first few pieces together. We’ve certainly got a long way to go, a lot of strides to make, but I’m excited about where we’re at.
Q: You’ve spent some time in the NFL on and off. How do you compare the feedback you’re getting from coaches here in the Alliance to the feedback you got there?
A: The thing that drew me to this league, number one, was the caliber of coaching, so I knew I was going to come here and get coached well, and that’s held true to this point. I was really excited about that opportunity to come in and get some great coaching. When you’re preparing for a game every Sunday, it’s kind of hard to focus on every quarterback. You’re focused on the guys that are playing, so to get some one-on-one coaching, for all of us [quarterbacks], is really great.
Q: How does it feel to be back in Texas, playing football?
A: That part’s really exciting. This is my home state, and to get to come back here and play football again is a real blessing. Incarnate Word wasn’t around [when I was in high school], but it still feels good to be home, I just feel like I’m home walking around throughout the city, so that’s a lot of fun for me.
Despite Gilbert’s draft position, Apollos Head Coach Steve Spurrier says every player in camp is competing for a starting spot. Each quarterback — Gilbert, Austin Appleby, Stephen Morris and Kevin Anderson — has looked sharp in the early going, and the competition to be the lead signal caller when the Apollos take the field February 9 will be fierce.
The Orlando Apollos are in San Antonio for training camp throughout January. The Alliance of American Football’s inaugural season begins Saturday, February 9, when the Apollos 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