Apollos hold first full-contact practice of training camp
By Tom Alexander, Orlando Apollos Team Reporter
SAN ANTONIO — On Wednesday, Gayle and Tom Benson Stadium at the University of the Incarnate Word was filled with the sounds familiar to any football fan: the pops and crunches of pads and helmets crashing together. On the coldest day of camp to date, The Orlando Apollos held their first full-contact practice in San Antonio. Up until Wednesday, the weather in the Lone Star State was closer to what The Apollos experience in Florida this time of year: sunny, and in the low-to-mid-seventies.
Wednesday was a different story: cloudy and windy, with temperatures in the 50s. Many players wore sweatshirts and multiple layers under their shoulder pads for the practice.
Here are the three main takeaways from Wednesday’s morning session:
1. The defense was ready to hit
Apollos defensive coordinator Bob Sanders’ unit hit the field fired up and ready to go. The defense made more plays than the offense Wednesday, forcing a few fumbles, intercepting several passes and getting good penetration into the backfield.
Apollos head coach Steve Spurrier said he expected the defense to be a little more ready for full contact. “As usual, the defense was a little bit more friskier, I think, than the offensive guys,” Spurrier said. “They did some good stuff, Coach Sanders, Coach Collins, all those coaches over there are doing a super job.”
- Northrup emerging as a leader on defense
Apollos linebacker Reggie Northrup II is emerging as one of the leaders on the team’s defense. Northrup was around the ball on just about every play in which he participated, and his teammates shouted him out and recognized him for his playmaking ability.
- Joint practices are coming soon
The Apollos are anxious to get a look at their competition in The Alliance of American Football, and they soon will. Joint practices with The Arizona Hotshots are scheduled in the near future, and players who learned of the joint practices were excited to get a chance to scope out the opposition. The Apollos will host the Hotshots during the regular season, on Saturday, March 16.
After practice, Spurrier remarked that the offense needs to improve quite a bit, saying, “[the offense has to improve on] Everything today. We’ve been trying to teach a whole bunch of stuff, and now we’ve got to start [teaching], ‘alright, you’re at this position, you learn everything he does exactly right,’ and right now, the receivers are learning three, four positions, and it’s a little too much right now.”
The Orlando Apollos continue training in San Antonio throughout January, getting ready for the inaugural game of the Alliance of American Football season. The Apollos host The Atlanta Legends on Saturday, February 9, at Spectrum Stadium on the UCF campus. The game will be broadcast nationally on CBS. Get your tickets now: http://bit.ly/ApollosTix