Saturday, March 16, 2013

Daily League News & Notes

Arena Football League
Former Carolina Panthers DL Eric Norwood Joins the SaberCats
The SaberCats announced today that they were assigned former Carolina Panthers defensive lineman Eric Norwood on a one-year contract.
"Adding a player with the high-level experience of Eric is something we are very excited about," said Owner/Head Coach Darren Arbet. "He gets downhill as a pass rusher and we look forward to seeing what he will bring to our defense in 2013."
Norwood (6-1, 240, South Carolina) is a rookie to the Arena Football League. Last season, Norwood played for the Virginia Destroyers of the United Football League. He is a two-year National Football League veteran who spent the 2010 and 2011 seasons with the Carolina Panthers. In 2011, he appeared in 13 games, making seven tackles on defense and six tackles on special teams. In 2010, Norwood was drafted in the fourth round (124th overall) and played in 15 games for the Panthers, recording six tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.
The Oakland, Calif. native played college football for the University of South Carolina from 2006 to 2009. Over his collegiate career as both a linebacker and defensive end, Norwood appeared in 51 games for the Gamecocks, recording 255 tackles and 29 sacks. As a senior, he was named as a First-Team All-American by the Associated Press for the first time and First-Team All-Southeastern Conference for the third consecutive year.
Eric Norwood
Position: DL
Height: 6-1
Weight: 240 lbs.
Born: May 24, 1988
Hometown: Oakland, Calif.
Last Team: Virginia Destroyers (UFL)
College: South Carolina
AFL Experience: None
Some Final Thoughts As Storm Camp Ends
Today marked the end of the 2013 Storm training camp, and while there was mixed emotions the team was in good spirits during today's practice.
"You know, I really love the team we have right now," said Storm wide receiver Michael Lindsey. "Everyone is together and on the same page."
While the emotions were flowing, there was still a practice to be had. The coaching staff scaled back the day's activities allowing the players to participate in a non-padded practice and reflect on their time in camp.
"We're still adjusting a bit," said Storm defensive back Vance Cuff. "We learned a lot in order to become better players on the field. Now that we have the basics, we're a better football team."
At the end of practice, the team got together one last time before tomorrow's cut day.
Looking Forward: The final 24-man roster is due to the League office by 5:00 PM CT on Saturday, March 16. The first practice of the season will take place Monday, March 18 at Skyway Park in Tampa.
Coaches' Perspective: On final roster selection and what the team should expect, Storm head coach Dave Ewart said, "We should all have the mentality that no matter what happens we are being evaluated. Come in each day and play like it's your last."
Players' Perspective: "It's cut day and everyone's emotions are going strong," said Lindsey. "We all put in hard work this training camp. The players that get chosen will definitely be ready for the season."
Quote of the Day: Addressing the team after practice, Storm director of player personnel David Wilson said, "When you make this team, you're representing the Storm. Be professional and always be prepared to go to work."
Player Spotlight: First-year Storm quarterback Adrian McPherson is a former AFL Rookie of the Year (2004). The former Florida State Seminole, and Palmetto, FL native, spent three seasons in the AFL as a member of the Indiana Firebirds, Grand Rapids Rampage, and Austin Wranglers. He joins the Storm after a five-year stint in the Canadian Football League with the Montreal Alouettes where he was a member of back-to-back Grey Cup Championship teams (2000-10).
Soul Finish Last Team Practice; Joint Practice Saturday
The 2012 American Conference Champion Philadelphia Soul, presented by Parx Casino, finished their last team practice of the training camp. The players will have one last opportunity tomorrow during a joint-practice with the Pittsburgh Power to show what they can do on the field.
The competition among the players was high today as it's well known that today and tomorrow are the last days to leave a lasting impression on the coaches. The current 28-man roster will need to be reduced to 24 for the Soul to finalize their roster for the 2013 season.
Philadelphia invited their cross-state counterpart, Pittsburgh Power, to a joint-practice to close out their 2013 training camp and provide an in-game challenge to the players. The practice will take place at the NovaCare Complex tomorrow, Saturday, March 16, from 8 to 10:30 a.m.
PHILADELPHIA SOUL 2013 MEDIA DAY: The Philadelphia Soul will hold their season-opening media day on Tuesday, March 19. Media members and fans are invited to come watch the team practice from 9 to 11 a.m. at the team's practice facility located at 333 Preston Ave, Voorhees, NJ 08043. Following the team's practice, the media will be able to interview players, the coaching staff, and Co-Majority owner Ron Jaworski.
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: DB RAYSHAUN KIZER (5'10, 190, Walsh): Soul veteran DB Rayshaun Kizer returns to Philadelphia for his second consecutive season. Kizer, entering his fourth season, set the AFL record for interceptions in a season with 16 in 2011. During the 2012 season, he set the Soul record for pass-breakups in a season with 30. Kizer ranks third all-time at Walsh University for interceptions in a career.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I am thrilled to be playing in this city," said Soul rookie WR Ryan McDaniel. "I've heard great things about the fans and the passion they have for their sports. I'm excited to play in front of them." When asked about camp, McDaniel replied, "I enjoyed it. Having older, veteran receivers around me, I was able to pick up some tips from everyone. I seen what I liked from them and was able to add a little bit of everybody to my own game. I'm excited for tomorrow, I'm ready to play against someone who's not my teammate. It'll be exciting to play at game speed where I can show my full skill set."
KEEP THE STREAK GOING: Next week, the Soul open up their regular season against Arizona on Saturday, March 23 at 8 p.m. Opening up the season, there are several win streaks the Soul have going for them.
With a win, the Soul can extend their regular-season win streak to nine games, carrying over from 2012. They will also push their season-opening win streak to seven games, with their only season opening loss in the 2004 inaugural season.
Although the Soul will want to extend these streaks, the team will want to end one. If they win next week, the Soul will end their two-game losing streak to Arizona and finally record their first win against the Rattlers.
Sharks Fall to Predators in Preseason Scrimmage, 41-20
The 2012 South Division Champion Jacksonville Sharks took to Sea Best Field for the first time in 2013 on Friday, falling to the Orlando Predators by a 41-20 count in the teams' preseason scrimmage at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.
Though the Sharks did not walk away with a win on the scoreboard, the four quarters of Friday's scrimmage served as a great chance for many of the team's rookies and new faces to get accustomed to taking their game between the walls. In fact, many of the Sharks' returning veterans played very few snaps, giving their younger teammates a chance to get their reps in.
One veteran who did make an early impact, however, was defensive back LaRoche Jackson. After Orlando scored the first 13 points of the game, Jackson ran the ensuing kickoff back for an electrifying score that pulled the Sharks to within a 13-7 margin.
After the Predators again extended their lead, two of the Shark rookies began to make an impact. Both Charles Gilbert and J.J. Hayes entered Friday's scrimmage without having played a single snap on an actual arena football field, and both players impressed. Gilbert hauled in a nine-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Bernard Morris in the second quarter, while Hayes made several plays in the second half, including a big 4th-and-long conversion on a pass thrown by R.J. Archer.
Each of the Sharks' three quarterbacks saw at least two series on Friday night. Morris started the game and played the entire first half, showcasing his trademark scrambling ability on two occasions. After halftime, Archer entered and played into the fourth quarter before giving way to rookie Lee Chapple. In the game's final seconds, Chapple ended the contest on a positive note with a 10-yard touchdown run.
With the preseason scrimmage in the books, the Shark coaching staff must turn around and make some tough roster decisions. After opening training camp with a 35-man roster nearly two weeks ago, then practicing for the past week with a 28-man squad, head coach Les Moss and his assistants must submit a 24-man roster by Saturday evening. While the film from tonight's scrimmage will no doubt play a role, each player will be evaluated on his overall body of work throughout training camp.
Shark players, staff and the Attack Dance Team will take part in tomorrow's Kickoff Bash at Burrito Gallery, located at 21 E. Adams St. in Jacksonville. All Shark fans are invited to attend the event, which will feature player autographs, a live DJ, $5 burritos and a whole lot more. The Kickoff Bash is set to run from 4:00-7:00 in the evening.
After Saturday's personnel decisions and the Kickoff Bash, the Sharks will return to the practice field early next week in preparation for the season opener in Tampa Bay against the Storm, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 23.

Indoor Football League
Colorado Ice Sign Former CSU and UNC Football Stars
The Colorado Ice are looking to move to 2-1 on the season as they welcome in the Green Bay Blizzard to the Budweiser Events Center Sunday, March 17, 2013 at 3:00 p.m.
The Ice hosts a Blizzard team that is currently on a two game losing streak in the first ever meeting between the two franchises.
The Ice will have the help of some familiar Colorado names on Sunday as Mychal Sisson (#7 LB out of Colorado State University) and Patrick Walker ( #85 WR out of University of Northern Colorado) have been signed and are primed to make their season debuts.
After being named to the Sporting News' Freshman All-American team in his first year, Sisson was named 2nd-team All-Mountain West in his sophomore and junior years before injuries kept him out of most of his senior season in 2011. Sisson led the nation with seven forced fumbles in his junior year, and finished his career as a Ram ninth in all-time tackles.
Former Northern Colorado Bear Patrick Walker will also be making his IFL debut. Walker had a prolific career as a three-year starter for the team, breaking NFL receiver Vincent Jackson's school records for receptions in a season and in a career. Walker's senior year was his best season, as he hauled in 84 catches for 1,171 yards on his way to being named a third-team FCS All-American. His finest game was in 2011 against North Dakota, when he had ten receptions for a staggering 315 yards, setting both a school and conference record for single game receiving yards.
The Ice are hopeful that because both players are comfortable playing in the thin mountain air, they will be able to contribute immediately and help get a win against Green Bay.

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