On the first day of mini-camp Friday at Riverview Park, the 45 players on the National Indoor Football League team’s preseason roster actually looked like football players.
What they didn’t look like were castoffs.
“We’ve got a good crop of guys,” said player-coach Resty Beadles, who played at Georgia. “Today was an evaluating day that gives us a chance to see who has prior experience.”
The mini-camp continues today at 9 a.m. and about 15 players will be going home after that.
Speed and agility tests were the focal point of the practice early and a good many of the potential Renegades displayed both.
The receivers ran crisp routes and the defensive backs were able to keep up.
The quarterbacks made solid reads and threw tight spirals and the linemen were big. And we’re talking huge.
One such lineman Chatee Cooks is 6-foot-8 365 pounds and another Reginald Jiles is a svelte 340 pounds at 6-foot-6.
“I was very impressed with the linemen,” said Renegades’ strength coach Scott Hines. “Compared to what I have seen on film, these guys are a lot better.”
Receiver Nick Hunter of Clark Atlanta looked NFL caliber at 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds.
He burned a defensive back in a one-on-one drill, only to receive much better coverage his next time up.
Needless to say, the competition is stout.
In the mix are Corey Barnes of Trion, Roderick Ware of Pepperell, Quentin Dulaney of Cedartown, along with Rome resident Adam Lombard at placekicker.
All four looked solid on the first night of practice, with Barnes and Dulaney taking reps at receiver and defensive back and Ware at quarterback.
“It feels good to be out here,” Ware said. “I haven’t played ball in two years, so it’s good to be back.”
The quarterback battle may be the most brutal, with four in camp and two likely headed home.
Former Maine quarterback Jon Bond, who is 6-foot-6 displayed a strong arm but Dixie Wooten Jr. of UTEP might have been the leader after the first day.
Wooten is a compact 6-foot-4 quarterback with a lighting quick release, good feet and a strong arm.
The starting job might be his to lose.
Renegades coach Oscar Dillard indicated that he might keep all the linemen, because they performed so well the first day.
However, the team is allowed only four offensive linemen on the roster during the season.
Jiles allowed just two sacks in two years with the Oklahoma Crude and is one of just four players remaining from the squad that moved to Rome.
And that’s probably a good thing.
Brian Haugabrooks, who played for Steve Spurrier at Florida, is another impressive receiver, who should find a spot in the starting lineup.
“I think it was a fantastic first day,” Dillard said. “The nucleus of the team has been working out for a while now and they look to be in season form already.