Apollos TE Orndoff shines to close out Week 2 of training camp
By Tom Alexander / The Alliance
The Orlando Apollos closed out the second week of training camp in San Antonio facing some very un-Florida-like weather. Saturday morning was cold at the University of the Incarnate Word, with winds that were consistently above 20 miles per hour. It didn’t seem to faze the team, however. That’s a good sign, considering the Apollos have road games scheduled for Birmingham and Salt Lake City in early March.
Here are three big takeaways from Saturday’s practice:
- Orndoff = red-zone weapon
Apollos tight end Scott Orndoff is fast becoming a reliable red-zone target for the Apollos’ quarterbacks. Orndoff made two nice catches in combined drills Saturday. One of them was for a touchdown. The other was an impressive one-hander at the sideline. The 6-foot-5, 256-pound University of Pittsburgh product’s size and speed could prove to be a matchup problem for opposing defenses this season.
- Dual-threat quarterbacks
All four of the Apollos’ quarterbacks — Kevin Anderson, Austin Appleby, Garrett Gilbert and Stephen Morris — have mobility in the pocket, and they all showed Saturday that defenses should respect them as rushing threats, too. No matter which one is the starter, opposing teams will have a tough time getting sacks. They’re all proving to be able to not only slip away from pressure in the backfield, but also to sneak in for touchdowns on the ground. Adding that dimension to the “Sun ‘n’ Gun” offense will make the Apollos hard to stop.
- Okine an imposing defensive presence
The Apollos’ offensive players have already talked about how nasty the team’s defense is, due in part to having players like linebacker Earl Okine. The 6-foot-7, 265-pound University of Florida product is a force from the edge in the Apollos’ 3-4 scheme, with the height to block quarterbacks’ vision if he doesn’t take them to the ground.
Apollos safety Josh Evans says the team’s defense is going to turn some heads this season, even though having an offensive-minded head coach like Steve Spurrier will bring attention to the offense.
“People are just trying to figure out their specialty and what they (succeed) in, and I think we’re going to shock a lot of people this season,” Evans said.
The Apollos have a scheduled day off on Sunday before beginning Week 3 of training camp on Monday. The team is in San Antonio for the rest of January for training camp, preparing for their February 9 launch game against the Atlanta Legends. The game will be broadcast nationally on CBS, but if you want to see it live at Spectrum Stadium on the UCF campus, get your tickets here: http://bit.ly/ApollosTix
Tom Alexander covers the Orlando Apollos for The Alliance of American Football. Follow him on Twitter @TheTomAlexander.