Manchester Wolves Report For Training Camp This Weekend
MANCHESTER, NH-- As the Manchester Wolves players report on Friday and prepare for their first practice of the season, there is plenty of optimism and enthusiasm in the Wolves camp.
"I am very excited about all of the guys we have signed for this upcoming year," said second-year Head Coach Danton Barto, who was just voted the fourth best coach in af2 history by his peers, the national media, and the fans of the arenafootball2 league. "This is one of the best years I have had recruiting players and we have a great group of veterans returning."
Count among those veterans quarterback James Pinkney, who came off the bench in his rookie season last year and led the Wolves all the way into the playoffs before becoming injured late in the fourth quarter while engineering the post season first round upset win over the Wildcats in South Georgia. Pinkney, who finished the regular season with a quarterback rating of 115.7 and threw 59 touchdown strikes while completing 220 of 342 passes against only 12 interceptions while adding another 15 rushing touchdowns on 70 carries, comes back with a full understanding of Coach Barto's system and the arena game.
"Getting James back for the organization is huge," Barto said. "I expect him to have a huge year for us."
P inkney will be aided by one of his favorite targets, starting wide reciver Steven Savoy, who was one of a trifecta of wideouts to each gain over 1,000 yards last year for a Wolves record despite the fact he was injured and missed games in both the regular and post seasons.
On the other side of the line, the returning veteran starters who will be called upon to make a big impact again include defensive backs Al Phillips and Carlton Brown and linebacker Dwan Wilson.
"Al is a player who joined us late in the season and was big part of our success. I believe that Al is going to have a monster year for us," Barto said. "Carlton led us in interceptions last year. He is still learning the game and I expect him to make huge strides this year. Dwan was having a monster year for us last year before a foot injury slowed him down. I believe that Dwan will be a 10-plus sack guy from the linebacker position, which is huge."
All of the players assigned by the league or traded to the team in the off-season will report on Friday for physicals and be on the practice field at the Hampshire Dome in Milford on Saturday for conditioning drills from 12 to 2 PM. On Sunday, the coaching staff will get its first good look at the new team when the first practice is held at the Dome from 4 to 6 PM.
The coaches will be especially interested in how the rookies stack up once they put on the helmets and pads. Offensive lineman Charles Manu, defensive backs Antwan Stewart and Martel Vanzant, plus wide receiver Deyon Williams will get a long look.
"Charles is a guy who was a top player for Nevada-Reno and attended camp with the San Diego Chargers and I believe that he has all of the tools to be a shut-down offensive lineman," said Barto. "Antwan made plays at a big time program at Tennessee. With his size and speed,he should be a big part of what we do. Martel has unique size and speed for the defensive back position. He was a big part of what Oklahoma State was able to do in the Big 12. Deyon is a guy who made a lot of plays for Virginia. He performed at a high level in college."
Some of the players on the training camp roster with local connections include three offensive/defensive linemen. Marvin Wright (6-2, 265) is from the University of New Hampshire,Tyler King (6-5, 265) is the son of New England Patriots legendary linebacker Steve King and Kaiser Tupu (6-7, 400), recently acquired from the Corpus Christi Sharks, is the cousin of former Patriots stellar fullback Mosi Tatupu and current All-Pro Seattle Seahawks linebacker Lofa Tatupu.
The Wolves will be in training camp until the end of the month and then begin their 2009 campaign on the road against their arch-rivals and division foe, the East Division champion Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers. Wolves season home opener on The Acting Loft Field at the Verizon Wireless Arena is on Saturday, April 18th.
Season tickets are on sale now and the Wolves are tackling the recession with a money-back guarantee for tickets purchased from now until April 1st should the ticket holder become unemployed in May, June, or July. For complete details on the program, please visit the Wolves web site www.manchesterwolves.com or call the ticket office at 603-627-9653 (WOLF).
Individual game tickets, partial season ticket packages, group events tickets and fundraiser tickets are also on sale now but do qualify for the money-back guarantee.
The training camp roster to date is as follows:
OL/DL Tupu Kaiser 6'7 400 Mid Lutheran 9/8/87 2
DS Brandon Isaac 6'2 220 South Carolina 12/1/84 R
QB Potts Mike 6'4 220 William & Mary 3/6/85 R
LB Chappell Randy 6'4 240 Oklahoma State 3/17/78 3
OL/DL King Tyler 6'5 265 Connecticut 4/5/80 R
WR/DB Allison Graylin 6'0 185 Belhaven 3/22/85 R
OL/DL Barto Aryan 6'4 280 Tulane 5/25/85 R
WR/DB Brown Carlton 5'10 185 Jackson State 6/15/85 1
WR/DB Gilmore Howard 6'1 195 Norfolk St 10/4/81 R
DS Green Rob 6'1 200 Massachusetts 5/28/78 4
FB/LB Jefferson Paul 6'1 265 Penn St 9/7/82 1
FB/LB King Matt 6'3 258 Maine 7/13/83 R
K Koepplin Chris 6'3 215 Umass 10/11/85 1
OL/DL Manu Charles 6'3 310 Nevada 10/30/84 R
DL McSwain Larry 6'1 250 UAB 10/12/83 1
DB Myers Anthony 5'7 165 Samford 7/16/85 1
OL/DL Owens Jacob 6'5 280 Fairmont St 10/10/84
=0 A R
DB Phillips Alfred 5'11 190 Wagner 10/14/85 0
QB Pinkney James 6'3 215 East Carolina 8/17/83 2
WR/DB Savoy Steven 5'11 190 Utah 2/27/82 1
DB Stewart Antwan 6'0 195 Tennessee 11/5/83 R
WR/DB Touchstone Jerome 5'8 171 Appalachian St 11/19/85 R
DB Vanzant Martel 6'0 210 Oklahoma St 8/18/85 R
FB/LB Wengert Chad 6' 240 Robert Morris 7/30/86 1
WR Williams Corey 6'2 200 Washington 10/22/84 R
WR Williams Deyon 6'3 198 Virginia 9/24/85 R
FB/LB Wilson Louis 6'3 243 Alcorn St 4/5/83 2
OL/DL Wright Marvin 6'2 265 New Hampshire 2/18/85 1
WR/DB Young DeQwan 5'7 178 St Joseph's College 11/12/86 R
B. International Training Squad
OL/DL Tash David 6'3 275 Iona (INTL-Grenadines) 3/2/86 1
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