Sunday, March 3, 2013

Daily League News & Notes

Arena Football League
Competitive Day Completes Soul First Practice
The 2012 American Conference Champion Philadelphia Soul, presented by Parx Casino, finished their first day of non-padded practice at the NovaCare Complex in Philadelphia. The first practice of the 2013 season kicks off the Soul's run for ArenaBowl XXVI in Orlando.
Players were eager and excited to finally get on the field after completing physicals for the previous two days of camp. The competition is high as veteran players OL Christian Johnson and Brennen Carvalho looked strong on the offensive line, while rookies DL/LBs Morkeith Brown and Calvin Fance were impressive in their first Soul practices. There will be another two days of non-padded practices before contact starts on Tuesday, March 5.
With many new players added to the mix, the team needs to get into the groove of things as their season-opening game is three weeks away. The Soul will put their team to the test a week before with a scrimmage against the Pittsburgh Power.
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: WR/KR ALVANCE ROBINSON (5'9", 170, Alabama St.): Enters his fourth AFL season and his first season with the Philadelphia Soul. Robinson had the two best seasons of his career with the Utah Blaze (2011-12) recording 185 receptions, 2,363 yards, and 47 touchdowns in 27 games.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I am thrilled to be around, and a member of, a championship-caliber program," said Soul WR Armand Robinson. "This team is designed to make a run at the ArenaBowl. One thing that really makes this team special is the fans. It's great to be in a city that loves football. To see the way this city rallies around this team is something special. With training camp starting, I'm happy to be here, get back to football, and be a part of this."
WELCOME HOME, MORKEITH: Soul DL/LB Morkeith Brown (6'5", 255, Temple), comes back to Philadelphia, the same city he attended college at Temple University. Before attending Temple, Brown enlisted in the U.S. Army, and served a 14-month deployment to Afghanistan in 2005.
Brown played for Temple's football program, earning All MAC Honoree and being named a nominee for the Vern Smith Leadership Award. After college, Brown had the opportunity to attend the Tampa Bay Buccaneers camp (2012), Cleveland Browns camp (2012), and two workouts with the Philadelphia Eagles (2012).
Brown, a Criminal Justice major and decorated veteran, naturally has defense in his mindset. He defended our country and now looks to help defend for the Soul.
Storm Training Camp Day 1
The Tampa Bay Storm held its first day of training camp at Skyway Park, as the team reported for duty at 12:00 PM with the day concluding at 6:00 PM. Today marked the first of three non-padded, helmets only practice as the team worked on conditioning, and installing the offense and defense.
Like many other training camps, the first day was full of excitement and nerves as the team came together and started to get to know each other better.
"We're a little nervous, but excited at the same time," said Storm center Brad Serini. "Camp will be hard, but we're ready to go through it as a team."
The Storm worked on conditioning before moving on to the team drills. The process included sprints and several different types of stretches. Each conditioning drill was used to test endurance to see who was ready to take on the game of arena football.
"We used the conditioning to see who was in shape," said Storm defensive line coach Chris Hovan. "It also helped us see who was mentally and physically prepared to play."
The end of the day saw the team working on offense and defense. Both sides were making plays, and trying to outdo the other.
Comings and Goings: Defensive lineman Rodney Beamon was acquired by the Storm. Beamon (6-foot-2, 285 lbs., Tennessee-Chattanooga) played with the Mocs from 2007 - 2008. In 23 games, he tallied 56 tackles including five sacks for 21 yards. He also recorded a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. Wide receiver Carlos Singleton and offensive lineman Thomas Claiborne were reassigned.
Coaches Perspective: "We're going to work on everything," said Storm head coach Dave Ewart. "Now is the time to translate what we teach in meetings to the field, and make sure everyone understands the offense and defense."
Quote of the Day: "We're excited, it's the first day and we were anxious to get out here to see what the team looks like on the field," said Storm President Derrick Brooks. "To physically see the guys get out here, and get ready for the season is special to all of us."
Player Spotlight: Mid-way through last season the Storm acquired Joe Hills to help add depth to an already stout receiving corp. The Palmetto, FL native did not disappoint, and in just five games he had 39 receptions for 648 yards and 13 touchdowns. He looks to continue his success with the Storm this season, and made several plays during the first day of camp.
OL Narcisse, LB Mortensen Return to Blaze
The Utah Blaze have agreed to terms with two veterans in OL Antonio Narcisse and LB Joe Mortensen, the franchise announced today. Starters for the Blaze in 2012, both players inked new deals after being cleared from injured reserve.
"I'm happy to have Joe and Antonio back with the Blaze this season. They bring leadership qualities to this football team," Head Coach Ron James stated. "Joe and Antonio are hard working players that set the tone with their blue collar mentality. I expect them to contribute to this team on the field and in the locker room."
Narcisse returns for his third season with the Blaze after starting 27 straight games at center from 2011-2012. He was originally acquired midway through the 2011 season via a trade with the Spokane Shock, where he played from 2010-2011. Throughout his five-year AFL career, Narcisse has also played for the Cleveland Gladiators (2008) and New Orleans VooDoo (2007).
As a rookie in 2012, Mortensen started 14 games at Mac linebacker for the Blaze. He totaled 25 tackles (15 solo), including 3.5 sacks and five tackles for loss, adding one pass breakup and one safety. Mortensen is best known for his performance in the first round of the 2012 playoffs, where he sacked San Antonio Talons QB Jeff Garcia on fourth down to secure a victory.
Training Camp-Day 1 a Success for VooDoo
The New Orleans VooDoo held its first practice of the 2013 season at Pan American Stadium Saturday morning.
The 35-man roster worked on basic play installation, position drills, and other team-oriented drills.
Here is what Head Coach Pat O'Hara had to say about his team's first practice:
The team will embark on its second practice tomorrow (Sunday, March 3), at Tad Gormley Stadium.

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