03/04/2013 5:30 PM
JACKSONVILLE – The 2012 South Division Champion Jacksonville Sharks took to the Plantation Park field on Monday morning for the team’s first full-contact practice of 2013 training camp.
With all players wearing shoulder pads and ready to hit, the Sharks had their most competitive session of one-on-one work to date. Receivers and defensive backs squared off in both one-on-one and three-on-three matchups, highlighted by showdowns between longtime Shark veterans in receiver Jeron Harvey and defensive back Micheaux Robinson.
In the trenches, the Sharks’ offensive and defensive linemen enjoyed the physicality of the day’s workout. This served as a great opportunity for fourth-year offensive lineman Isaac Morales welcome some of the team’s new faces along the defensive line, including veterans Dusty Bear and Matt Marcorelle and rookie Malcolm Riley. In addition, fullback Rendrick Taylor had some notable collisions with the Shark defenders rushing from the Mac linebacker position.
Once again, the practice concluded with a lengthy team session that pitted offense against defense. While the tension was constantly high between the whistles, the goal remains overall team improvement, as evidenced by a number of occasions between snaps when veteran players gave specific suggestions and other instruction to younger players.
Entering his fourth AFL season, defensive lineman Dusty Bear has joined the Sharks after spending a season with the Philadelphia Soul. Following Monday’s practice, the Sarasota native talked about getting the chance to play in his home state.
“My whole family is from down here in Florida, and I feel so comfortable being here back home in the state,” Bear said. “And Jacksonville has a great fanbase and it’s a great place to be. It’s going to be an honor for me to play here.”
With the Soul last season, Bear battled through injury to finish the campaign with 19 total tackles (15 solo), five tackles for loss and three sacks. He also recovered three fumbles, grabbed an interception, forced a fumble and broke up a pass. As someone with experience at both the defensive end and Mac linebacker positions, Bear touched on the differences between the two spots.
“It’s just a mental thing. When I get down at D-end, I know I have to play bigger than what I am, because I’m going against a guard or a tight end that’s a little bit bigger than me.” Bear said. “At Mac you’ve got to be a little more responsible with the guys, relaying the play and communicating."
The Sharks return to Plantation Park on Tuesday morning for another full-contact workout. The practice is set to begin at 8:30 a.m. and will be 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.