JACKSONVILLE – The 2012 South Division Champion Jacksonville Sharks returned to the Plantation Park practice field for the fifth day of training camp on Wednesday morning.
After two consecutive days of intense full-contact workouts, Sharks head coach Les Moss and his staff opted to give the team a lighter workload during Wednesday’s helmets-only practice. This allowed players a day of physical recovery. The coaching staff focused on on-field teaching and situational football.
“We had four hard days, running wise, especially on the skill guys,” Moss said. “They were intense practices, so today we came out and worked on some situational football, different situations in the game. Today was a really good teaching and learning day.”
The team has now practiced on five consecutive days to open camp, and three practices remain before the team’s next off day on Sunday. For a number of newcomers, the opening of camp has served as a crash course in the differences between Arena Football and the outdoor game. Following Wednesday’s practice, Moss touched on how the team’s young receivers are adjusting.
“For some of the new receivers, this is a different game, but now the light’s starting to come on for them a little bit,” Moss said. “They’re starting to make some plays, getting the right depth on their routes and making the right decisions. The competition is high out here, so the next two days are going to be critical for these young guys.”
Two of the three quarterbacks on the Shark roster bring extensive Arena Football experience to the table, as Bernard Morris led the team to a South Division Championship last season and R.J. Archer was a two-year starter for the Georgia Force. Unlike those two, rookie Lee Chapple is experiencing the indoor game for the first time.
Chapple recently finished his collegiate career at North Alabama after transferring from Georgia Southern. At UNA, Chapple threw for 3,322 yards and 24 touchdowns as a senior in 2011, leading the Lions to a 9-3 record. After Wednesday’s practice, the Alpharetta, Georgia native talked about his adjustment to the faster pace of Arena Football.
“Everything happens just so much faster on a field only 50 yards deep,” Chapple said. “You don’t have a lot of time to sit there and make progressive reads, you just got to diagnose it pre-snap. And as the ball snaps, you have to make split-second decisions.”
Nearly a week into training camp, Sharks head coach Les Moss is impressed with what he’s seen from his young quarterback.
“Lee has done a great job, he’s been a very pleasant surprise,” Moss said. “He’s done a great job at quarterback and we’re really happy with him.”
The Sharks return to Plantation Park for a full-contact practice on Thursday morning. Thursday’s workout will begin at 8:30 a.m. and is open to the public.