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‘Stacking Those Blocks’: Iron DB Trovon Reed’s confidence is rubbing off on the team

‘Stacking Those Blocks’: Iron DB Trovon Reed’s confidence is rubbing off on the team By Marq Burnett / The Alliance SAN ANTONIO — Trovon Reed is confident. When facing the Birmingham Iron’s receivers in practice each day, Reed let’s his secondary mates and the wide outs know that the stiffest competition they’ll face all season is each other. That may come out as a slight to the other teams, but it’s not. Reed is just confident in his guys. A former Auburn standout, Reed spent the majority of his collegiate career as a wide receiver before making the switch to defense as a senior. From 2015-18, Reed spent time with the Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis (L.A.) Rams, Miami Dolphins, San Diego (L.A.) Chargers and the San Francisco 49ers. “He’s very experienced. He’s very savvy. He’s got a great feel for the game,” Lewis said. “He’s got good size, and all his athletics and gymnastics are good. Really looking for him to take a leadership role and continue to bring these young guys along with him because he’s got all the tools.” We caught up with Reed following practice to get his thoughts on camp and much more. What’s camp been like for you? Reed: “It’s been great to get back out here with the guys, play football guy and be around some brothers. Meet some guys I never met before and build bonds. It’s the biggest fraternity in history so I’m excited to be out here.” How has it been playing with some of your old Auburn guys? Reed: “It feel like we’re back in the old days. Just to be on the field with those guys and feel that camaraderie again, that brotherhood is still there. I love it.” We’ve seen a lot of good battles between the receivers and DBs. Who do you think is winning those battles so far? Reed: “The DBs (laughs). Those guys are great, man. We’re pushing each other everyday and getting better. We tell each other everyday that we are the best competition we’re going to go against. We don’t look at other team’s rosters. We’re going against each other to make each other better.” How have the quarterbacks looked from your perspective? Reed: “All of them have their different strengths. They’re great at what they do. Those are my guys, and I’m rooting for them.” How good can this defense be? Reed: “Real good. We just have to keep stacking the days and make each one count.” # # # Marq Burnett covers the Birmingham Iron for The Alliance of American Football. You can follow him on Twitter @Marq_Burnett

‘Stacking Those Blocks’: WR Quan Bray excited to be a part of the Iron’s ‘explosive’ offense

‘Stacking Those Blocks’: WR Quan Bray excited to be a part of the Iron’s ‘explosive’ offense SAN ANTONIO — Quan Bray has a vision for the Birmingham Iron’s offense in its opening season. Bray, one of the Iron’s leaders in the wide receiver group, believes the Iron can be “explosive” out of the gate given all of the skill talent the team has assembled. While at Auburn, Bray was a versatile weapon on offense and special teams in the return game. From 2015-18, Bray spent time in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts, Buffalo Bills and the Houston Texans.  Bray has already made an impact on his new team. “He’s a very talented wide receiver. He’s a very talented athlete,” Iron coach Tim Lewis said of Bray. “He’s been a fantastic person with regards to his work ethic and attitude. He’s a leader of our wide receiver group. I love his personality, and I enjoy being around him.” We caught up with Bray on Thursday to see how he’s handling camp life. How is camp going for you so far? Bray: Camp is going pretty good down here in San Antonio. Wishy-washy weather, but it’s going great so far. Coach Lewis mentioned you as one of the leaders of the receiver group. How have you embraced that role? Bray: I just try to lead by example. I don’t really talk too much. I just let my play speak, come out everyday and be consistent and lead by example. You guys have a lot of speed and experience at receiver. How good is this wide receiver group? Bray: We have a lot of experience with guys who have played in the NFL for a few years. Everybody is learning from each other. I think the group is coming along, we’re playing fast and I think it’s going to be exciting. Where is the chemistry at with the quarterbacks? Bray: We clicking, we clicking. We can always get better. We have a couple more weeks, and that’s what we’re going to do. What can people expect from this offense? Bray: Explosive, definitely. What are you hoping to get out of the rest of the camp? Bray: Just continue to get better and be consistent. We’re trying to win a championship. That’s our goal, and that’s what we’re going to accomplish.

‘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 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. | […]