03/05/2014 5:31 PM
JACKSONVILLE – The Jacksonville Sharks returned to the practice field on Wednesday, holding another extensive full-contact workout on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.
Having practice inside the team’s home arena is a tremendous benefit at this early stage of the season. At the skill positions, veterans and rookies alike are able to run their routes and coverages with the walls in play, while linemen on both sides of the ball can get familiar with the surface they will be competing on come game day.
During Wednesday’s practice, the Sharks’ coaching staff emphasized eliminating mental mistakes. In game situations, especially into the fourth quarter, players will need to push through fatigue and continue to execute on point. Though practice can never fully replicate a game, the team’s training camp sessions are a great chance to emphasize this, particularly during the team session at the tail end of a lengthy practice.
With just a few days of training camp left, coaches have a limited number of reps left to evaluate the team before final roster decisions must be made. At this point in camp, Sharks players are concentrating on putting their best foot forward on the field or in meetings in order to stake their claim on a roster spot.
The Sharks will be back in the arena on Thursday as training camp continues.
The Sharks entered training camp with four rookie receivers. One of those four is Willie Carter, who is set for his first Arena Football League experience after participating in the Washington Redskins’ rookie minicamp following the 2013 NFL Draft.
A native of Denmark, South Carolina, Carter spent four years at Howard University, where he played wide receiver for the Bison from 2008 to 2011. As a senior, Carter led his team with 60 receptions for 731 yards and seven touchdowns, earning a spot on the 2011 All-MEAC First Team.
Now in Sharks training camp, Carter is in the midst of a healthy competition to become part of the Sharks’ talented receiving corps this season. After Wednesday’s practice, Carter spoke about fighting for his job.
“It’s tough. We’ve brought back a couple of veterans from last year, and then you’ve got Mardy [Gilyard], he’s very talented as well,” Carter said. “So every day I just come in, work hard, do what I can do, and hopefully I can end up with a spot on the roster.”
The Sharks made several transactions on Wednesday. First, Jacksonville announced that the team has claimed offensive lineman Manny Akah off reassignment. The 35-year-old Akah (6’3”, 335) enters his fifth season in the Arena Football League, and earned a Second Team All-Arena selection with the San Jose SaberCats in 2012. A product of Winston-Salem State University, Akah has also played with the Tampa Bay Storm (2010-11) and San Antonio Talons (2013).
In addition, the Sharks announced Wednesday that defensive back Terrance Smith has been activated from physically unable to perform, while defensive lineman Isaiah Keyes has been placed on physically unable to perform.
The Sharks will continue training camp with a practice on Thursday. Thursday’s workout will be held on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena and is set to start at 9:30 a.m.
About the Jacksonville Sharks
The Jacksonville Sharks are members of the Arena Football League (AFL). The ArenaBowl XXIV and four-time 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 2014 season are now available, two tickets for as low as $185. To purchase 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.
About the AFL
Since its inception in 1987, the Arena Football League has showcased a fast-paced and exciting game to millions of fans in a myriad of markets across the country. The ESPN family of networks and CBS Sports Network will nationally broadcast AFL games each week for the entire season. The AFL schedule then culminates with the ArenaBowl Championship game live on ESPN.