Shock Training Camp update - Day 4
Tuesday March 10, 2015
First two padded practices in the books, roster beginning to take shape
SPOKANE, Wash. (March 10, 2015) – Shock coaching staff and players took part in the team’s official Media Day shortly after completing their second padded practice of their 2015 training camp today.
Through the first four days of team practices, which included two non-padded acclamation days over the weekend, the Shock roster is already beginning to shape up in preparation for the team’s tenth electrifying season as a franchise in 2015.
The Shock opened camp with 35 players signed to contracts, consisting of eight returning rookies from the 2014 AFL season and a handful of veterans the team was able to sign during the free agency process in the off-season, or were on pre-existing contracts.
While the roster saw a number of key departures in the off-season, the Shock opened training camp with high expectations for their returning players and veterans, as well as, a talented group of rookies that were amassed during the off-season.
“The start of camp is like Christmas morning for us, I can’t tell you how excited we were to kick things off this season,” said Shock Head Coach Andy Olson. “We were very pleased with the veterans that committed to our team, and our fans, in the off-season. We have a strong group of veteran players that combined with the rookie options brought back from the 2014 roster and new rookies to the AFL, we feel very confident that this group will be able to win a lot of games for us in 2015.”
The spotlight of training camp currently sits on the quarterback position as the Shock opened camp with AFL veteran Carson Coffman, returning rookie option Jarrett Brown, and AFL rookie Warren Smith.
Carson Coffman will be entering his fourth AFL season in 2015 after playing in 14 games last season with the Iowa Barnstormers on his way to completing 236 of 401 pass attempts for 2,970 yards and 53 touchdowns. Prior to Iowa, Coffman helped the Chicago Rush to a 2013 playoff berth as he completed 283 of 467 of his passes for 3,583 yards and 73 touchdowns. Coffman spent his rookie season as a member of the Utah Blaze, serving as the back up to league MVP Tommy Grady.
Jarrett Brown returns after the Shock exercised the rookie option on his 2014 contract. Despite spending a majority of last season on the injured reserve list, Brown entered training camp with a year of playbook experience under his belt. Warren Smith began camp as a true AFL rookie in 2015 after playing two seasons in the PIFL with the Trenton Freedom where under the tutelage of offensive coordinator and former AFL quarterback Ryan Venna. With the PIFL having very similar rules to the AFL, Smith recorded a league high 24 consecutive starts over his two seasons and led his team to a 2014 playoff berth while he was selected as the PIFL’s Most Valuable Player. During his 2014 MVP campaign, Smith completed 248 of his 388 pass attempts (63.9 percent) for 2,589 yards and 46 touchdowns while adding another 13 scores on the ground.
“The quarterback battle is wide open and extremely competitive,” said Shock Head Coach Andy Olson. “While experience plays a huge role at the quarterback position in the AFL, all three of our quarterbacks on our roster possess the talent and ability to elevate those around them and to be efficient passers in this league.”
The wide receiver position has proven to be veteran dominated at the start of training camp. Returning veteran Mike Washington shows no signs of slowing up his performance as he enters his fifth AFL season in 2015. Washington led the Shock in 2014 with 106 receptions for 1,356 yards and 23 touchdowns. Prior to being acquired by the Shock via trade prior to the 2014 season, Washington spent this first three AFL seasons with the Pittsburgh Power where he recorded multiple franchise records with 364 total receptions for 4,446 yards and 100 receiving touchdowns.
Rashaad Carter, Nick Truesdell, and Samuel Charles also return for the 2015 season after the Shock exercised rookie options on their contracts during the off-season. Carter saw action in 16 games during 2014 as he recorded 74 receptions for 780 yards and 17 touchdowns. Truesdell joined the Shock late in the 2014 season for his rookie AFL campaign and saw limited action, but his physical presence (6-7, 240) and athletic ability positions him as a strong favorite to be in the starting mix at the beginning of the 2015 AFL season. Charles also joined the team late in 2014, finishing the season on the injured reserve list.
“It’s always good to open camp with experience at the wide receiver position, particularly with a new quarterback under center,” said Shock Head Coach Andy Olson. “Beyond the experience of a handful of receivers, we do also have a number of guys in the mix between current contract players and workout players that are really pushing the veterans to perform, which is always a good thing.”
While the Shock coaching staff continue to evaluate options at quarterback, the offensive and defensive lines have shown a significant amount of depth and talent at the beginning of training camp.
The Shock will return veteran offensive linemen in Patrick Afif and Samuel Tupua. Mark Jackson and Rory Nixon also return to the mix for Spokane for 2015 after the team exercised rookie options on their contracts, both of whom saw action at the end of the 2014 season. Beyond those with previous experience, there are also a number of early stand outs on the offensive line through the first four days of training camp that will have Shock coaches keeping a close eye on the battles over the final ten practices.
Quite possibly the deepest position for the Shock in training camp is within the defensive front featuring 2014 AFL Defensive Lineman of the Year James Ruffin and returning AFL veterans Derrick Summers (10.5 sacks in 2014) and Terrance Taylor.
Spokane was also able to acquire mac-linebacker Matangi Tonga during the off-season free agency period, who spent the last three seasons with the Iowa Barnstormers. Bryson Kelly also returns to the Shock roster in 2015 after the team exercised the rookie option after the 2014 season where he saw action in 11 games. Dominique Duster has also been a player to watch at the defensive tackle position, who was another player the Shock signed after their open workout in Atlanta last fall.
“We have some serious players in the trenches this season on both sides of the ball,” said Shock offensive line coach and defensive coordinator Travis Crusenberry. “The core unit of veterans we were able to bring back this season brings the potential for immediate production on defense, as well as the protection we need offensively to protect the quarterback.”
Similar to the battle at quarterback, the defensive secondary has proven to be one of the most competitive position groups through the first few days of training camp.
The Shock opened camp with returners from the 2014 roster in Sam Pope and J.T. Fitzgerald, as well as, the reemergence of Ruschard Dodd-Masters as a player after serving as the defensive backs coach for Spokane last season.
Sergio Gilliam and Devan Dace were additional off-season acquisitions by the Shock during the free agency period, each bringing AFL experience to the field. Dace spent the 2014 season with the Iowa Barnstormers, while Gilliam will be entering his sixth season in the AFL after playing for the Pittsburgh Power in 2014. Gilliam was also a member of the af2 Spokane Shock in 2008 and 2009.
“The competition has been fast and fierce in the defensive secondary at the start of camp,” said Shock defensive backs coach Will Mulder. “We have a few guys right now that have some deep resumes as far as experience, but the young guys haven’t let that intimidate them one bit and have been progressing each day and are really keeping the returners on their toes.”
The Shock will look ahead to their final ten practices of training camp, taking Wednesday this week off from the field to focus on film and study. This Saturday, March 14 the team will take part in their first full-team scrimmage of camp as the Shock host their 2015 Season Ticket pick-up event at the Shock Training Facility from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (doors at 9:00 a.m.). Also on Saturday, the team will make their first roster cut of training camp from their 35-man roster to 28. Final cuts will be made on Saturday, March 21.
Season tickets for the 10th Electrifying Season are currently on sale with packages starting as low as $99 for all nine (9) Shock home games. Season and group ticket packages can be purchased by calling the Shock office at 509-242-7462, visiting the Shock Box Office located in the Shock Facility in Spokane Valley (3212 N Eden Rd. Ste B), or by visiting the Shock website at www.SpokaneShock.com.
The Shock hosts dollar night and the home opener for its tenth electrifying season against the Philadelphia Soul on Saturday, April 4 at 7 p.m. at the Spokane Arena (720 W Mallon). Single game tickets are currently on sale at all TicketsWest box office locations, at the Spokane Arena box office and at www.TicketsWest.com.
To view the Shock’s 2015 regular season game schedule (PDF), click here.
SPOKANE SHOCK MISSION
The Spokane Shock strive to deliver to our fans a high quality entertainment experience while serving and representing the Inland Northwest on and off the field as a proud member of the Arena Football League.
ABOUT THE SPOKANE SHOCK
The Spokane Shock is a professional arena football team of the Arena Football League from Spokane, Washington, USA. They play their home games at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. The Shock played their first four seasons in the former af2, winning division titles in all four seasons and ArenaCups in 2006 and 2009 before joining the AFL and winning ArenaBowl XXIII in their first season. The Shock will kick off their 10th Anniversary Season in 2015. Tickets and Sponsorships are available. For more information visit our website at spokaneshock.com or call 509-242-7462. You can also follow the Shock on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, and YouTube.