02/28/2011 4:04 PM
The Cleveland Gladiators took the field today for the first practice of the 2011 season. The session kicked off around 9:15 this morning and lasted until 12:30 at the MultiPlex Events & Sports Center at the WORD Church in Warrensville Heights. Here are a few highlights from today’s session:
BACK TO THE GRIND- Quarterback John Dutton was hungry to get back on the field and get started on the new season. The two-time ArenaBowl champion looked to be in midseason form during passing and team drills, hitting his marks in stride with ease. Familiar targets such as Robert Redd, a Gladiator in 2008 and was teammates with Dutton for the Colorado Crush in 2004 & 2007, and Victor Williams returning from last year, will be some of the key pieces to the receiving corps and establishing that team chemistry that is essential in putting up wins. “The first step in having a good team is really the camaraderie and then working hard,” John said. “We have got both of those and right now it’s just about getting better each and every day.”
HARDER, BETTER, FASTER, STRONGER- The offensive and defensive lines were going all out in their first practice today. It was back to basics as full-speed footwork drills were the focus this morning. Offensive/Defensive Line Coach Whitney Bell had the boys narrowing in on their footing, keeping their hips low and timing the breaks out of their stances. By over-emphasizing these basics in practice, the guys will be more likely to roll the better technique over in game situations. Returning from last year’s squad on the offensive side are center Billy Eisenhardt, fullback Russ Monk and first-team All-Arena tackle Adam Tadisch. The defensive line were led by Cleveland native Tim Cheatwood, another returner from last season, as they worked at timing the snap, reading defensive alignments and gap stunts.
HEARD ‘EM SAY- Head Coach Steve Thonn was pleased to get to today and have the first practice in the books. Every offseason is a long one, especially for coaches who spend most of it evaluating new talent and working hard to retain core players from the previous season. With 11 players returning from last year, Coach Thonn thinks that rapport is something that should not be overlooked. “It’s huge, especially in arena football,” he said. “It’s so important to have that continuity. They know me, I know them, they know the system and I think we are way ahead of the game than we were at this time last year.”
2011 CAMP INFO- Training camp will go through March 11. All practices are at the MultiPlex Events & Sports Center is located at 18909 S. Miles Rd, Warrensville Heights, Ohio, at the same location as The WORD Church (unless otherwise noted).
DATE DAILY INFORMATION
Mar 1- Practice 9:15-11:30
No Practice/Scrimmage at Pittsburgh Power
End of Camp