Commentary: Reactions from Mini-Camp
The first ever Apollos Mini-Camp closes today. While media hasn’t had access to most of the practices, we were invited on Saturday night. Here are a few things we learned while watching practice.
Garrett Gilbert is the clear QB 1
After the draft, the team messaging made it clear that Gilbert was the starter heading into camp. On Saturday, we learned why. While all of the QBs performed well during practice, Gilbert stood out from the crowd. What made Gilbert stand out was the polish he brings to the position. His throws are crisp, with tight spirals. He throws a controlled ball with touch, while the other quarterbacks weren’t quite as precise with their throws.
This league will focus on coaching
In my past experience with pro football, I didn’t see much coaching. Sure, the coaches worked on plays and technique, but the demonstrations and drills lacked instruction. That’s not the case in the AAF, at least with the Apollos. Most of the Saturday practice saw the position groups get one-on-one and group coaching from their position coaches, focusing on technique and skill. I could hear the coaches mention “…when we get to training camp…” several times, making it clear that mini-camp was just the beginning. Player development is a clear focus of the Alliance, and this practice showed that that focus is more than just lip service.
The Apollos are FAST
I spent a lot of time watching the receivers group, in part because that’s where a lot of the action was. My biggest takeaway from the group is that the Apollos have some very fast receivers. With the offense Coach Spurrier has indicated he wants to run, that should come as no surprise. The Kansas City Chiefs and Chicago Bears are two of the NFL’s top teams this season, and both run the same offense that Spurrier wants to adopt. The receiver group should definitely fit into that scheme, especially Marvin Bracy-Williams. Rannell Hall also stood out from a speed perspective, as did Willie Quinn.
Marvin Bracy-Williams still has it
Throughout practice, Bracy-Williams showed he’s more than just a former Olympian. For someone that has been out of competitive football since 2013, Bracy-Williams showed no signs of rust. His routes were clean and crisp, and his speed was off the charts. Expect the former Boone H.S. star to be a big part of the Apollos offense.
For more on Saturday’s Mini-Camp practice, check out our highlight video: