The University of West Florida football program held its first spring practice on Wednesday, at the UWF Intramural Fields under sunny skies and temperatures in the 80s.
The players are nine student-athletes who have either transferred from other schools, or were selected from two previous tryout camps. Before the workout, Head Coach Pete Shinnick addressed the troops.
“Listen, like we’ve talked about, how we’re doing things, what’s taking place and what your role is,” said Shinnick. “We’re going to teach, we’re going to learn.”
Before the workout Shinnick, who also began the football program at North Carolina-Pembroke from scratch, says at this point they’re further ahead at UWF compared to the same time at Pembroke.
“Not even close,” said Shinnick. “At Pembroke, I would have been hired in January, so I would be on the job only three months. Here, I’ve been on the job close to 14 months. That timeline has put us light years ahead as far as the caliber of student-athlete that we’ve been able to attract.”
After warming up, the players broke up into their position groups, at least as well as nine can break up. The players will go through five practices during the spring semester. The other four are set for next Wednesday, the 25; March 31, and April 2 and 8, all at the Intramural Field.
After the sessions, Shinnick expects to a have a better idea of what they can do.
“We want to find out exactly where these guys are, where they’re going to fit into our plans, how they compare with the young men we’ve already recruited,” Shinnick said. “We’re trying to get their prepared for a leadership opportunity in the fall.”
The nine players going through spring drills will be joined by around 30 signees announced last month, and possibly some walk-ons from a tryout this summer. In all, UWF football could be around 110 players strong for the 2015 redshirt year.
The 1st Argos:
Marvin Conley-Defensive Back, 5-10, 175, Cocoa Beach, Fla./Cocoa Beach HS (Valley City State)
Antoine Griffin III-Wide Receiver, 5-10, 150, Cocoa Beach, Fla./Cocoa Beach HS (Valley City State)
Tyler Henderson-Defensive Back, 5-10, 195, Crestview, Fla./Crestview HS (Florida Atlantic)
Tyrone Jones-Quarterback/Defensive Back, 6-2, 180, Pensacola, Fla./Pine Forest HS
Blake McCall-Offensive Lineman, 6-3, 305, Century, Fla./Northview HS (Jackson State)
Stetson Nash-Defensive Lineman, 6-3, 265, Century, Fla./Northview HS (Harding)
Sanel Plavotic-Offensive Lineman, 6-5, 280, St. Petersburg, Fla./Northeast HS (Minot State)
Mack Predalus-Defensive Back, 5-9, 160, North Miami, Fla./North Miami Beach HS
Jamie Smith-Defensive Back, 6-2, 200, Pensacola, Fla./West Florida HS