03/05/2013 5:40 PM
JACKSONVILLE – The 2012 South Division Champion Jacksonville Sharks held their second full-contact workout in as many days on Tuesday morning, taking to the practice field at Plantation Park for a second consecutive day.
Tuesday’s practice provided the toughest conditioning test yet, as temperatures climbed into the seventies during the team session at the tail end of practice. That team workout followed a lengthy series of one-on-one and three-on-three work.
The one-on-one portion of practice highlighted the team’s veteran secondary, as each of the Sharks who lined up at defensive back has prior indoor football experience, and four players have at least three previous seasons in the Arena Football League. Following Tuesday’s practice, defensive back Micheaux Robinson talked about the advantages of the high level of experience at his position group.
“It’s definitely a positive, it makes it a lot easier as far as far as communication goes,” Robinson said. “Even when we’re unable to communicate, guys just have that natural knowledge and experience and they can make up for it.”
On the flip side, the Shark receiving corps features a number of newcomers who are adjusting to the pace and style of the indoor game, including Dorian Graham, Jacksonville native Charles Gilbert and fellow rookie J.J. Hayes. Hayes spoke about the adjustments he has had to make during this transition.
“I like the tempo of it,” Hayes said. “I like that it’s fast paced, there’s a lot of receivers and a lot of receiving plays. There’s a lot of opportunities to block too, so it really works to my abilities.”
The Sharks have eight more practices before the team’s preseason scrimmage against the Orlando Predators. In that time, the team’s young receivers will have many more chances to test themselves against the team’s veteran defensive backs as they continue to learn the ins and outs of the indoor game.
The Sharks made an addition at receiver on Tuesday, announcing that Maurice Avery has been assigned to the team’s roster. The 29-year-old Avery (6’1”, 215) has not played in the Arena Football League, but does bring five seasons of professional indoor football experience to Jacksonville. Avery spent his collegiate career at Memphis.
In other Tuesday transactions, the team announced that defensive lineman Jerry Turner has been activated from the Refused to Report list, while wide receiver London Crawford has been placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
Hayes joined the Sharks just over a year after wrapping up his collegiate career at Lamar University. As a senior in 2011, Hayes was his team’s leading receiver, recording 53 receptions for 951 yards and eight touchdowns. He earned a spot on the All-Southland Conference Second Team that season and owns school records for most receiving yards in a season (951 in 2011), most receiving yards in a single game (212), and most receptions in a single game (14).
After Tuesday’s practice, Hayes discussed his performance to this point in training camp.
“It’s pretty difficult but I think I’m doing pretty well,” Hayes said. “I’ve made some mental mistakes here and there but it’s just all a part of learning.”
Hayes has also had to adjust to the tempo of practice, as the Sharks have limited time to pack in as much repetition as possible.
“It’s different from training camp in college, because we’re not out here as long but we’re getting so much done in that period of time,” Hayes said. “I’m just enjoying it and I’m happy to be out here.”
The Sharks return to Plantation Park on Wednesday morning for the team’s fifth practice in as many days. Wednesday’s workout will begin at 8:30 a.m. and is open to the public.
About the Jacksonville Sharks
The Jacksonville Sharks are members of the Arena Football League (AFL). The ArenaBowl XXIV and back-to-back-to-back South Division Champions are presented by Sea Best Seafood and play all home games on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Season Tickets for the 2013 season are now available, two tickets as low as $185. To reserve your season tickets or for more information, please call (904) 621-0700. Follow the Sharks on facebook at facebook.com/jaxsharks and on Twitter @jaxsharks, as well as the Attack Dance Team at facebook.com/sharkattackdance and Chum at facebook.com/chumsharks.