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‘Stacking Those Blocks’: QB Tuesday features the Iron’s Blake Sims

‘Stacking Those Blocks’: QB Tuesday features the Iron’s Blake Sims SAN ANTONIO — Blake Sims is soaking up the opportunity. Sims, a former starting quarterback at the University of Alabama, is “happy” to be with his new Birmingham Iron teammates as well as some of the old faces from his time at Alabama. Having multiple former Alabama players on the Iron’s roster has made Sims’ transition with the club an easy one. Sims became a legend at the University of Alabama during his senior season in 2014. Sims threw for a then-Alabama single season record 3,487 yards and 28 touchdowns while leading Alabama to an SEC championship. Sims is one of four quarterbacks on the Iron roster during training camp. Iron coach Tim Lewis is impressed with what he’s seen from Sims so far. “He’s a fantastic leader,” Lewis said. “He does a great job getting in and out of the huddle, and getting the players lined up. He’s very smart and athletic. We’ll have to design some things to utilize his athletic ability. I really enjoy being around him as a person.” We caught up with the quarterback following Day 10 of training camp. What’s it been like getting back on the football field? Sims: “Man, it’s good. I’m happy to be out here with my new teammates and former teammates. I’m happy to be out here and competing. It’s a blessing, and I’m just happy to be here.” How does it feel see so many guys you were able to play with at Alabama? Sims: “It’s good. We have great chemistry. It’s just a different offense, and we have to get used to it and keep spreading the ball around. We can use each other to keep us uplifted.” What is that quarterback room like giving all the experience you guys have? Sims: “It’s real good. We’re helping each other out. We do have different experiences, but we’re helping each other because we’re all one and we’re for the Iron.” How has it been getting the chemistry down with the receivers? Sims: “It’s been very easy. It takes repetition. We can always get better at it. That’s the plan. We’re communicating very well, the connection is going well and we’re talking to each other after every play.” Where do you think the team is now that you’ve had over a week in camp? Sims: “I think we’re championship bound. We can always get better. We want to strive for the best. When a team play us, we don’t want them to want to play us again.” What are some of the areas you guys can improve on right now? Sims: “Chemistry. Fighting for one another. Trust, a lot of trust. We need a lot of trust, and we need to trust our coaches and listen to what they’re saying.” Do you feel like the guys are coming together more and more each day? Sims: “Most definitely. Players are starting to get nicknames. Coach Lewis is very engaged with all the players. Seeing him smile everyday is helping us get together even more.” What’s the best nickname? Sims: “Turbo. (Receiver […]

Nick Novak excited to join the Birmingham Iron

Nick Novak excited to join the Birmingham Iron

‘Stacking Those Blocks’: Iron TE Weslye Saunders working to ‘earn his stripes’ during training camp

‘Stacking Those Blocks’: Iron TE Weslye Saunders working to ‘earn his stripes’ during training camp SAN ANTONIO — Birmingham Iron tight end Weslye Saunders believes he is at his peak mentally and physically. As a young player, Saunders recalled playing in the NFL and not properly understanding the benefits of proper nutrition or why it was important to stay even-keeled emotionally. Now at 29, Saunders is the “old head” of his position group as he works to restart his professional football career. “I believe I’m a totally different player than I was the last time I was on a football field,” Saunders said. “This feels like a completely new start.” Saunders wasn’t with the team during minicamp so the 6-foot-5 tight end is working to “earn of stripes” among the team during training camp. He’s done a good job, and Iron coach Tim Lewis has been impressed. “(He’s looked) fantastic. Exactly what we thought he would look like,” Lewis said. “He’s a very talented athlete. He’s a gifted tight end, a gifted player. I can’t wait to see him in action.” We caught up with the tight end following Day 9 of practice. What’s it been like getting acclimated in camp? Saunders: “Football is football at the end of the day. To have this opportunity for a bunch of guys who wouldn’t have had one otherwise makes it that much more special. Just to be here with seven other teams grinding for the same purpose is a really momentous occasion.” How would you describe your playing style as a tight end? Saunders: “I would like to think I’m an all-around tight. A lot of guys usually go to one side or the other as far as blocking and catching are concerned, but I want to make my focal point being able to do everything so I don’t have to come off the field.” What type of receiver are you? Saunders: “Oh, I’m a dynamic receiver. I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I like to be able to make plays for the quarterback even when there are none. I like to use the size that the good lord has given me to my advantage on this football field. That’s one of the places you can do that.” Coach Lewis said the tight end group is one of the strongest on the team. What’s it been like working with those guys? Saunders: “It’s been great working with these guys. I’m the old head now all of a sudden at 29 years old. Being able to coach some of these guys up and seeing that rigor and determination out here is rubbing off on myself. Being able to go out here and work under (tight ends/special teams) coach Ray (Rychleski) who I had as a tight end coach at the University of South Carolina has been pretty special as well. How has that reunion with coach Ray been? Saunders: “I believe I’m able to handle him a lot better 10 years later than I was back in college. He’s a great guy, he has out best interest at heart and […]

The Alliance announces starting times for inaugural season

The Alliance announces starting times for inaugural season AAF.com staff You’ve already marked the date, February 9. Now you can mark the time. The Alliance of American Football has announced starting times for its inaugural season. CLICK HERE for complete season schedule and to BUY TICKETS No matter which team you follow — Arizona Hotshots, Atlanta Legends, Birmingham Iron, Memphis Express, Orlando Apollos, Salt Lake Stallions, San Antonio Commanders or the San Diego Fleet — now you know when the fun will begin. Led by some of the most respected football minds in the game, the Alliance of American Football is a dynamic professional football league fueled by an unprecedented Alliance between players, fans and the game. Founded by TV and film producer Charlie Ebersol and Hall of Famer Bill Polian, The Alliance will feature eight teams with 52-player rosters playing a 10-week regular season schedule in the spring beginning February 9 on CBS, followed by two playoff rounds and culminating with the championship game on April 27. Here’s the schedule (ALL TIMES EASTERN, and subject to change): Week 1 Saturday, Feb. 9 — Atlanta at Orlando, 8 p.m. | TICKETS Saturday, Feb. 9 — San Diego at San Antonio, 8 p.m. | TICKETS Sunday, Feb. 10 — Memphis at Birmingham, 2 p.m. | TICKETS Sunday, Feb. 10 — Salt Lake at Arizona, 4 p.m. | TICKETS Week 2 Saturday, Feb. 16 — Salt Lake at Birmingham, 3 p.m. | TICKETS Saturday, Feb. 16 — Arizona at Memphis, 8 p.m. | TICKETS Sunday, Feb. 17 — Orlando at San Antonio, 4 p.m. | TICKETS Sunday, Feb. 17 — Atlanta at San Diego, 8 p.m. | TICKETS Week 3 Saturday, Feb. 23 — Arizona at Salt Lake, 3 p.m. | TICKETS Saturday, Feb. 23 — Memphis at Orlando, 8 p.m. | TICKETS Sunday, Feb. 24 — Birmingham at Atlanta, 4 p.m. | TICKETS Sunday, Feb. 24 — San Antonio at San Diego, 8 p.m. | TICKETS Week 4 Saturday, March 2 — Orlando at Salt Lake, 4 p.m. | TICKETS Saturday, March 2 — San Diego at Memphis, 8 p.m. | TICKETS Sunday, March 3 — San Antonio at Birmingham, 4 p.m. | TICKETS Sunday, March 3 — Atlanta at Arizona, 8 p.m. | TICKETS Week 5 Saturday, March 9 — Orlando at Birmingham, 2 p.m. | TICKETS Saturday, March 9 — Salt Lake at San Diego, 8 p.m. | TICKETS Sunday, March 10 — Memphis at Atlanta, 4 p.m. | TICKETS Sunday, March 10 — San Antonio at Arizona, 8 p.m. | TICKETS Week 6 Saturday, March 16 — Memphis at Salt Lake, 4 p.m. | TICKETS Saturday, March 16 — Arizona at Orlando, 8 p.m. | TICKETS Sunday, March 17 — San Antonio at Atlanta, 4 p.m. | TICKETS Sunday, March 17 — Birmingham at San Diego, 8 p.m. | TICKETS Week 7 Saturday, March 23 — Orlando at Atlanta, 3 p.m. | TICKETS Saturday, March 23 — Salt Lake at San Antonio, 8 p.m. | TICKETS Sunday, March 24 — San Diego at Arizona, 4 p.m. | TICKETS Sunday, March 24 — Birmingham at Memphis, 8 p.m. | TICKETS Week 8 Saturday, March 30 — Orlando at Memphis, 2 p.m. | […]

Iron Training Camp 2019

Birmingham Iron Training Camp 2019

‘Stacking Those Blocks’: Iron LB Beniquez Brown leading the way defensively

‘Stacking Those Blocks’: Iron LB Beniquez Brown leading the way defensively SAN ANTONIO — Beniquez Brown isn’t hard to find on the field. Brown is one of the few Birmingham Iron players who wears flashy cleats. While his footwear grabs your attention, Brown wants his game to be what you remember about him. Brown was a tackling machine during his three years at Mississippi State. He totaled 200 stops, including 22.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, two blocked kicks and three interceptions. He left Mississippi State ranked No. 10 in career history in tackles for loss. For the Iron, Brown is tasked with leading the defense and being the coach on the field. “He is a leader. He’s intelligent. He’s tough,” Iron coach Tim Lewis said of Brown. “He’s a vocal leader as well as a leader who leads by example. He’s comfortable in that role. He does a fantastic job of getting the defense called and run. I’m really excited about watching him play.” The Birmingham Iron open the season Feb. 10 with a home game against the Memphis Express. Get your tickets here. Here’s our conversation with Brown as he walked off the field following Day 8 of training camp. How has the team has looked defensively? Brown: “It’s looking great. We’re getting better and better everyday. We’re correcting mistakes. Everyday like coach (Tim Lewis) says, it’s a building block. Everyday we come out here to get better. We’re not exactly where we want to be right now, but we’re using everyday to get better. Coach mentioned you as one of the defensive leaders. How do you handle that role? Brown: “I take it on. That’s a great compliment from coach. I take that role strongly because that’s something I’ve done in the past so it’s an easy flow. Getting to know the guys. Each guy reacts differently. You have to learn them, be able to coach them up and talk to them. I take that role in the positive way to coach the guys up. How has the communication been between the defense? Brown: “It’s getting better every day. We’re learning how to look and talk. Some guys are not as vocal, but you know that when you look at them and they trust you and you trust them, you know it comes together. As long as we talk and communicate, we’ll be fine.” How would you describe your leadership style? Brown: “More (leading) through my play, but as I got older, I started to be more vocal and say the things I needed to say. When I was young, it was through my play. But as you get older, you realize guys different guys take things differently so sometimes through my play and sometimes vocally. As long as you have a little bit of both, everything will be OK.”

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