The Tampa Bay Storm held its first day of training camp at Skyway Park, as the team reported for duty at 8:15 a.m. Today was the first of two non-padded practices with players donning helmets only, as the team worked on its conditioning along with the beginning stages of installing the offense and defense.
As with any start to the season, the first day of training camp was met with high emotions, and excitement, as many players were meeting each other for the first time. With a team that has many rookies, look for the veterans to take them under their wings and show them the ropes.
“While we have players returning, we do have some new faces around here,” said Storm defensive back James Harrell. “This is my third season and I want to provide veteran leadership for the younger guys on the team.”
Before moving on to team drills, the Storm worked on its conditioning; a process that included a 40-yard dash and a 300-yard shuttle run. All condition drills were used to test a player’s speed and endurance, both qualities needed in order to succeed in the game of arena football.
“The conditioning tests were good,” said Storm center Raymond McNeil. “The staff is preparing us for game speed and they were a great way to see where everyone is at heading into camp. The good thing is that many of us came into camp in shape which puts us ahead of the curve.”
While emotions were running at full speed, all of the players handled the first day of training camp in stride. It was met with competition, which is what the coaching staff wanted to stress to everyone heading into the season. Look for all 35 players to give their best efforts in order to make the final 24-man roster that will open the season versus the Cleveland Gladiators on Friday, March 27 on AMALIE Motor Oil Field at Amalie Arena.
Coaches’ Perspective: “Today was a good day,” said Storm head coach Lawrence Samuels. “It was just the first day but you can definitely tell the guys were ready. We should see a great training camp this season.”
Quote of the Day: “This was a great day,” said Storm Vice President of Football Operations Jeff Gooch. “Training camp has started off well and the guys are ready to compete for a spot on the final roster.”
Player Spotlight: At the end of last season, the Storm felt it needed to improve in the defensive backfield. With that in mind, the team brought several defensive backs into camp to compete for a spot on the final 24-man roster.One of those players was Spoto High School (Riverview, FL) product, Nick Addison. Addison was an All-State Honorable Mention in 2009 and earned All-State honors for his performance in 2010. The Tampa native played three seasons at Bethune-Cookman University, starting in 25-of-30 games for the Wildcats and was an Associated Press FCS All-American second team selection. Addison made several plays during camp today, including an interception and pass breakup.