FDA spring training begins

Published 5:20 pm Friday, May 1, 2015

Maurlan Dickerson and Andrew Salter got physical Thursday afternoon in preparation for Friday’s scrimmage with Edgewood Academy.

Maurlan Dickerson and Andrew Salter got physical Thursday afternoon in preparation for Friday’s scrimmage with Edgewood Academy.

Spring is in the air at Fort Dale Academy, and FDA head football coach James “Speed” Sampley said that his players are off to a good start despite the team’s relative youth and experience.

“I thought we had a good week—we got a lot of young kids playing positions that maybe some of them haven’t played before,” Sampley said.

“And we’re trying to install offense and defense and trying to hit a little bit because it’s spring to let them have a good time.  It’s a lot going on, but we got a lot out of the first week.”

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A new year means change for the Eagles as some returning players change positions and a crop of newcomers shuffle the team dynamic even further.

The team’s focus in week one  has been on developing an inside run game and a sprint-out pass game, as well as spending as much time as possible on defensive assignments to make sure newcomers understand their roles.

The Eagles lost 11 seniors last year, which Sampley said is par for the course in year-over-year turnover.

But next Friday’s scrimmage with Edgewood Academy should help the Eagles iron out the remaining wrinkles on both offense and defense.

But Sampley said that the scrimmage is just that—an opportunity for both teams to improve.

“The scrimmage game is exactly what it sounds like—it’s not a game where we’re worried about winning or losing, and I don’t think they are,” Sampley said.

“We’re all going to play all of our kids and try to take a look at them at the positions we want to.  The game is not like a jamboree where you’re trying to win.

“This is more like practice so we can get what we need out of it, and I think that’s a better deal for us in the spring.”

Though spring training is only halfway completed, Sampley said he’s already seen some standout performances in week one.

“We moved Lance Powell to H-back from guard, and he’s had a good week,” Sampley said.

“He’s caught the ball well and he’s running routes pretty well for someone who hasn’t done that.  He’s physical, which we need out of that position.

“The offensive line overall has had a good week.  We’ve got some work to do at other positions, but that’s OK, too.”

Though a number of things are subject to change, Sampley said that he already has a solid game plan in mind for the impending season.

“When you’re in a small school like ours, you have to adapt to your personnel,” Sampley said.

“We’re going to make some changes from what we did the last couple of years, but I think it’s better suited to the people we’ve got and hopefully that will work out.”

The Eagles will scrimmage with Edgewood Friday at 3 p.m.