Apollos offense gets back on the attack
By Tom Alexander, Orlando Apollos Team Reporter
SAN ANTONIO — The Orlando Apollos defense may have dominated the first full-contact practice of training camp, but that wasn’t the case Thursday. Apollos Head Coach Steve Spurrier’s offense scored at will during combined drills, especially in the red zone.
Here are the three big takeaways from the morning session:
1. The QBs are getting into rhythm
The Apollos quarterbacks are beginning to find their legs in Spurrier’s system and develop good timing with the team’s fast receiving corps. Quarterbacks Garrett Gilbert, Stephen Morris and Austin Appleby each had some really great moments in practice. Gilbert found wide receiver Willie Quinn on a drag route for a nice red zone touchdown during combined drills, while Appleby picked apart the Apollos’ coverage to find running back Mark Herndon for a touchdown. Morris showed off his mobility in the pocket, avoiding pressure and gaining significant chunks of yardage on several plays.
- This front seven could be something special
Opposing quarterbacks and offensive lineman are officially on notice: the Apollos pass rush is coming for you. The reason why the Apollos quarterbacks are able to show off their mobility is because the front seven are getting such good penetration. “If you’re not on it, if you’re not getting the ball out on time, they’re going to make you pay,” Apollos quarterback Austin Appleby said after Thursday’s practice. “That’s encouraging for a quarterback to know that if things don’t go right and we have an opportunity to punt the ball, that’s fine, because our defense is loaded, especially up front.”
- Iron sharpens iron
As good as the Apollos defense has looked during training camp, some of that credit goes to the defensive coaching staff having to prepare to face Spurrier’s offense every day. Spurrier, one of the most creative offensive minds in the history of the game, forces the defense to stay on its toes. “We have to be rule sound, because he’s going to stretch us at every angle, so it makes our guys better each and every day,” said Apollos defensive coordinator Bob Sanders.
The Apollos have a walkthrough scheduled for Thursday afternoon. Friday morning, they’ll be back to work at the University of the Incarnate Word as they prepare for the inaugural Alliance of American Football game. The Apollos host the Atlanta Legends Saturday, February 9, at Spectrum Stadium on the UCF campus. The game will be broadcast nationally on CBS, but you can get your tickets here: http://bit.ly/ApollosTix