Fort Dale Eagles start practice with two-a-days

Published 9:23 pm Friday, July 31, 2009

On Thursday, the Fort Dale Eagles took another step toward getting ready for football season with the start of two-a-days.

“Practice starts at 7:50 in the mornings, but I’ve been out here at six in the morning. We’re fired up about it,” said head coach Speed Sampley.

The Eagles have spent parts of the summer participating in seven-on-seven scrimmages, and they have seen great success in them.

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“We’ve only lost two games in all the seven-on-sevens we’ve been to, so we’ve been pretty successful,” Sampley said.

The Eagles’ offense has seen some changes in the offseason.

Last season’s quarterback Dustin Till has moved to wide receiver and Hunter Armstrong is taking over the quarterback position.

“We’ve got multiple reasons behind this, and we think Dustin is an exceptional wide receiver,” Sampley said. “He’s tall, he can jump, and he’s deceptively fast. He covers a lot of ground.”

Sampley also said that Till will see a few snaps at quarterback during each game from FDA’s adaptation of the Wildcat formation.

“We did this about four years ago with Brady Newton at wide receiver and Casey Weston at quarterback,” Sampley said.

Fort Dale fans will also notice a new, but familiar, face on the sideline, and this year’s offense will look different from what they’re used to.

Stephen Sorrells has taken over as offensive coordinator, and the Eagles are implementing the spread offense this year.

“Stephen knows more about the spread than I ever will,” Sampley said. “I’ve also been coaching 22 years, and I’ve called the plays for 22 years, so it’s going to be different.”

Fort Dale’s offense will be more of a West Virginia, two-back style spread option instead of a five-wide, throw-it-all-over-the-place style of offense.

“Stephen will do a good job, and we’re adding him to an already-great staff,” Sampley said. “We’re moving to the spread because it fits our personnel.”

With Till, Luke Hutcheson, Todd Burkett, Eli Blackmon and Sean McKeague at wide receiver, and Steven Till and Daniel Lowe at tight end, the Eagles have the depth to make the spread work.

“We’re also deep on the defense too,” Sampley said. “We’ll have nine defensive linemen play in the first game.”

Sampley said the young players on the team have also stepped up during the summer.

“I’ve felt good about the prospects of the young kids,” he said. “Perry Singleton and Brandon Matthews, among others, have made a lot of progress.”

Fort Dale doesn’t start school until Aug. 20, and Sampley said that will help his team out.

“We start school later, and that’s an advantage for us, I’m not going to lie,” he said.

The Eagles will continue two-a-days for 10 days, with the pads coming on next week.