GhostRiders training camp report: days 1-3
[KISSIMMEE, Fla.] - It has been a very productive first few days of camp for GhostRiders Head Coach Marquette Smith. Forty hopefuls gathered at Champions Sports Complex to compete for 25 roster spots.
Coach Smith and the players are excited to have upgraded to an indoor training facility this season. "With Champions as our practice facility, we are able to simulate game conditions much better than other teams that are practicing outdoors right now," states Smith.
QB - Brandon Sumner and Fabian Walker are battling neck and neck for the starting position. "Right now we are very athletic at the QB position, but I expect better production out of these guys in the passing game," explains Smith. In other QB news, Damon Dowdell has decided not to attend camp due to personal reasons.
RB - Lew Thomas, Paul Sharpe and Terrance Bunting all look great and according to Coach Smith the running back position is the highlight of the offense. Of course after starring at that position himself for well over a decade, Coach may be a bit biased. "We will have an established running attack and our backs will contribute in the passing game as well," states the former All-American. With three guys competing for two roster spots, it will be up to Coach Smith to find a place for all of them to play which means Bunting may see time as the "X" receiver.
WR - What appears on paper to be one of the deepest positions for the GhostRiders has turned out to be a disappointment thus far. Antonio Partridge has been released. Dante Johnson and Jeremy Simpson are both injured. Franchise Player and leading receiver last season, James Panui needs to get in shape. Coach Smith fully expects a couple of guys to step up and separate themselves from the pack, "All receivers are even right now. I am waiting for guys to step up and claim the three starting spots."
OL - You can describe Osceola's offensive line with just a few words: big, big and bigger. David Aubrey and Corey Haynes return as starters from last season. Aubrey has already been named offensive captain and is considered by Smith to be the "anchor of our O-line." Both Aubrey and Haynes go 300 plus pounds, while both candidates for the third offensive line spot go bigger than that. Q. Russell is 6'4" and 319lbs. Ray Marshall tips the scales at 350lbs and oh by the way he is 6'6". Marshall, who won a championship last season with Tri-City is the front runner to battle alongside Aubrey and Haynes in the trenches.
DL - Good news, bad news. Which would you like first? Bad news: Myqual Spann will not be at camp for the next few days. The good news, you ask? Spann will be attending the Orlando Predators camp. The whole GhostRiders organization is rooting for Spann as Smith explains, "We are all pulling for Myqual to take that next step in his career. Hopefully Jay (Gruden) can use him on their D-line." Despite the potential loss of Spann, Coach Smith says his defensive line is very deep, "All six of our guys could start for any other team in this league." Glenroy Watkins is currently out for a week with a bruised sternum.
LB - With the indoor game, teams utilize two linebackers: "Mike Backer" and "Jack Backer." The Jack is akin to the outside linebacker in a traditional 4-4 defense or a strong safety in a traditional 4-3 defense. According to Coach Smith, both positions appear strong for the GhostRiders, "I am fully confident in the linebacker positions." At Mike, Sam Smalls returns from last season while a rookie from UCF, Stanford Rhule has also impressed. At Jack, look no farther than Osceola High School's own Roger Sippio.
DB - Charles Jones who played college in ball in a little conference known as the SEC was listed #1 on the depth chart heading into camp. A phone call later and Jones is in camp for the AFL's Georgia Force. Coach Smith doesn't appear to be concerned, "All of our DB's run the forty in the 4.3's and all will be players in this league." The fastest of the bunch is cornerback Daveoin Smith who was recently clocked at 4.31 in the forty. Expect to see Turmarian Moreland (Hawaii) at the opposite corner and Sergio Smith at safety. Others being looked at are Calvin Brown and Rashad Mays.
Smith and his assistants will have their work cut out for them as the GhostRiders will trim the roster to an active twenty players and five on the injury/reserve list by the end of camp in accordance with WIFL rules.
Injury Report brought to you by Official Team Doctor, Dr. Leddy and Orthopaedic Associates of Osceola...
Jeremy Simpson, WR, Knee, 4 weeks
Dante Johnson, WR, Neck, Day to day
Glenroy Watkins, DL, Bruised sternum, 1 week
Thomas Andrews, OL, pending MRI results
"It's tough to let some of these guys go. It really speaks to our depth at each position," explains Smith.
Check back frequently for updates on the GhostRiders training camp.
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World Indoor Football League 2 Stories from February 6, 2007
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- GhostRiders training camp report: days 1-3 - Osceola Ghostriders
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