The Tampa Bay Storm held its second day of training camp today and the players picked up where they left off after day one. The team finished installing the offense and defense, and worked on forcing turnovers; something the Storm has made a point of focus heading into the 2015 season.
“Forcing turnovers helps a lot,” said defensive back Randall Burden. “This is a game of turnovers. If you get some picks and fumble recoveries, you should be able to win the game.”
In order to work on and improve its turnover margin the defense worked on forcing and recovering fumbles. This drill went hand-in-hand with pursuit drills. The pursuit exercise is one in which all defenders run to wherever the ball is, in order to force a fumble or make a tackle.
“The pursuit drills help everybody get the feeling of running to the ball and gang tackling,” said Burden.
This drill is also useful to the offense as it helps them prepare for in-game situations.
“The pursuit drills really help because they help prepare us better for the game,” said wide receiver Kendrick Ings. “When you catch a ball, there will be defenders by you trying to rip the ball away, trying to make a tackle or trying to break up the pass. By pursuing, it helps me get a feeling of where the defense will be when I catch the ball.”
Tomorrow the team will don pads for the first time in training camp. With plenty to prove, you can be sure that the players will be looking to make some hard hits with the purpose of proving their worth.
“I love putting on pads,” said Ings. “It shows our physicality on the offensive side of the ball. It’s been getting tense out there and we’re all ready to get those pads on.”
Quote of the Day: “It’s going to feel great putting the pads on tomorrow and seeing how we stand up against the new guys out there,” said offensive lineman Alfred McCullough. “We’ll see how we are on pass protection and run blocking, so it’ll be a good day.”
Change In Venue: The Storm will be practicing on AMALIE Motor Oil Field at Amalie Arena starting tomorrow, Sunday, March 8 – Wednesday, March 11. Practice will run from 8:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
Media Day: The Storm will host its media day on Monday, March 9 at Amalie Arena from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. All players and staff will be available for interview, and all media outlets are encouraged to come beforehand to watch practice. Practice will run from 8:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
Player Spotlight: Day two’s player spotlight is not just on one, but it’s on two players; Julius “JuJu” Forte and Ryne Giddins. Both Forte and Giddins played at the University of South Florida and were part of the same recruiting class.
Forte, a Boca Ciega H.S. (St. Petersburg, FL) product, returns to the Storm after playing in the final two games of the 2014 season. In two games on the defensive, he recorded 1.5 tackles. Forte played four seasons at South Florida, starting in 6-of-43 games for the Bulls.
Giddins, who prepped at Armwood H.S. (Seffner, FL), joins the Storm for his rookie season in the AFL. He played four seasons at USF, starting in 23-of-51 games for the Bulls. The Brandon, FL native began his professional career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League in 2014.
Forte and Giddins both made several plays during practice, wreaking havoc on the offensive line and disrupting several plays. The pressure applied led to tipped passes and interceptions in the defensive backfield. Both players have potential to make an impact on the defense. Look for both to work their hardest in order to make the final roster.