The Storm strapped on the pads for the first time today and immediately one could tell there was something different in the air. The sound of the pads cracking, and the ability to hit something, seemed to increase the level of intensity and competition on day three of Storm training camp.
“It’s great to see the guys in pads,” said offensive line coach Josh Bauman. “Any time you get on the field, the competitive nature comes out and you really get to see the true nature of these players.”
For the players it was a great to come out, compete and prove their mettle. It also helped them get a good sense of what it will be like during an actual game. By adding pads, the players have additional weight that was unaccounted for during the non-padded practices, so it’s crucial for the players to get used to the pads.
“It’s good when you run around in just helmets,” said mac linebacker Dexter Jackson. “But now we actually have some added weight on us so we have to get back out here to get used to the pads again.”
Football is a game of contact, so players are limited when they do not have the ability to hit with the protection of the pads. Today was a great way to start making plays and showing their worth.
“It’s fun to get out here and see what everyone has,” said Jackson. “Everybody looks good in shorts and shirts, but when you put the pads on you’ll find out who the real football players are.”
Some players use the pads as a gauge on how to better prepare themselves during the season. By using the pads, the players start to get a rhythm and feel for the game.
“It felt good to get the pads on,” said wide receiver Jarvis Williams. “We feel more comfortable and faster out there. You even feel more alert because you can get hit now and everyone wants to run through you, so you have to keep your head up at all times.”
The Storm will head into day four tomorrow as the players continue to work hard to make the final roster.
Quote of the Day: “It’s only been a few days, but camp is going smooth,” said defensive lineman Xavier Melton. “Everybody is coming out, competing and looking good. We just need to stay fresh and keep working to make the roster.”
Practice at Amalie Arena: The Storm will continue practice on AMALIE Motor Oil Field at Amalie Arena tomorrow, Monday, March 9 – 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: Today’s player spotlight goes to wide receiver Jarvis Williams. The Orlando, FL native is a three-year veteran of the Arena Football League and is looking to make an impact on the Storm offense. Williams came to the Storm after spending the 2014 season with the San Jose SaberCats. He also spent time with the Orlando Predators and Jacksonville Sharks.
The sure-handed wide receiver played for the North Carolina State Woflpack, leading the Atlantic Coast Conference in touchdown receptions his junior season (2009). During camp today, Williams displayed why the Storm picked him up in the offseason. He caught several passes under pressure and did not drop a pass even when he was under heavy coverage. Look for the 6-foot-4 receiver to use his body in order to make several plays during training camp.