03/03/2013 4:35 PM
JACKSONVILLE – The 2012 South Division Champion Jacksonville Sharks held the team’s second practice of 2013 training camp at The Bolles School on Sunday morning.
For the second straight day, the team practiced in helmets, shorts and jerseys, giving players a chance to get acclimated to the rigors of training camp before transitioning to full pads. The Sharks began the workout by breaking out into positional groups for individual drills, then moved to one-on-one competition.
Following the completion of one-on-ones, the Sharks came together for an extensive team session that allowed the Jacksonville coaching staff to evaluate their squad as a whole.
The level of competition remained high throughout the roster, especially among a group of defensive backs that includes three returning Sharks (Bill Alford, Micheaux Robinson and LaRoche Jackson), three AFL veterans (Tracy Belton, Tanner Varner and Jamaal Fudge), and a rookie in Cortez Stubbs who has prior indoor football experience.
Following the conclusion of practice, Shark head coach Les Moss emphasized the importance of body maintenance and proper treatment, especially when taking into account today’s cold temperatures and the upcoming transition to full-contact workouts.
One of the many new faces on the Jacksonville roster is defensive back Tanner Varner. Though he has won a Shark uniform for just two days, Varner is no stranger to the Arena Football League, playing with the San Jose SaberCats last season, the Philadelphia Soul in 2011 and the Iowa Barnstormers in 2010. The Northern Iowa product also spent three seasons with the Barnstormers while that team competed in af2.
After today’s practice, Varner spoke about what went into his decision to join the Sharks.
“Coach Moss, I’ve known throughout the years playing against him,” Varner said. “And then Jacksonville with their fans, you just can’t beat that. Florida is a place that I wanted to be, so this is just a place that I wanted to come down to.”
A versatile defender, Varner finished third on the SaberCats with 63 total tackles in 2012, adding 1.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, three interceptions and five pass breakups. Varner also forced a pair of fumbles and recovered two others. A physical presence in the secondary, Varner is looking forward to practicing in full pads.
“Oh yeah, hitting is what DBs do,” Varner said. “We’re ready to hit, and there will be some wide open eyes going tomorrow. It’ll be fun.”
The Sharks will hold their first full-contact practice of 2013 on Monday morning at Plantation Park, located at 3060 Race Track Road in St. Johns. The practice 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.