Training Camp notes 2/25/2020

The third day of work in pads. The position battles are heating up as the roster is getting winnowed down. Unfortunately, the fact that the coaches are installing some of the playbook on both sides of the ball means that my reports have to be a lot more circumscribed. We don’t want to give anything away to all the other organizations who read these reports to scout us!

As always, these are my personal observations, and in no particular order.

The O-line showed up! We’ve got a few hog mollies in camp now, and they look good: quick, tough, and wide. This allowed for some full eight-man drills. I can’t tell you much about those, and I certainly can’t show you any pictures, so you’ll just have to trust me when I say that Coach Mann is rolling out some innovative schemes.

Coach Mann lining it up for a wide receiver drill.

Again, these receivers! Everyone on the squad deserves a mention for their hard work and skills. Today I got a better look at two promising receivers, Tre Taylor and Shaq Curenton. I can’t show you their work in training camp, but I can show you Curenton’s 2019 IFL highlight video. Watch the first highlight to understand exactly what I mean when I say he has deceptive speed.

Curenton (#9) takes what looks like a little dump-off pass just a few yards past the line of scrimmage. Three defenders converge, and it looks like he’s going to be stopped for a short gain… but then he finds another gear and blows past them (and a safety for good measure).

He also has deceptive moves, as you can see in the highlight starting at 2:00. Lined up closest to the wall, he abuses San Diego’s #21 with a nasty double triple move on a short post route, and finishes it with a touchdown. The sickest part? That was his rookie season.

Getting underneath the helmet. Today we were also able to preview a series of “inside indoor football” videos we’re hoping to roll out over the next few weeks. In this clip, veteran WR Bones Bagaunte explains the different types of motion in the indoor game, and breaks down what he’s looking for on various routes. It’s a brief clip on our Facebook page (@riverkingsrprt), but we hope to make them much longer, and migrate them over here in the near future.

We hope these videos help newer fans understand some of the nuances of the indoor game. More importantly, we hope that they introduce both new and old fans alike to our players as people. It’s all about community in the IFL, and as Coach Mann told the Cedar Rapids Gazette in a recent interview, the River Kings are looking to become “the people’s team.” To that end, we’re hoping to introduce you to the players on a personal level with these little videos.

Staying healthy. As Coach Mann mentioned on Sunday’s Facebook Live show, getting out of camp healthy is a top priority. I had a chance to talk with Hayley from Performance Therapy here in Cedar Rapids. A graduate of Central College in Pella, Iowa, this is her first year with the team. I can’t reveal any details of her specific regimen for the River Kings, but she emphasizes the importance of hydration and controlled stretching to keep everyone performing their best. Injuries are part of the game, but we’re in good hands.

As noted, these reports are necessarily going to be a bit lighter on specifics as we move closer to the start of the season. We’re in pads and running full team drills now, so we’ve got to keep the playbooks under wraps! We will, however, be rolling out more analysis, and hopefully getting to know your 2020 River Kings much better as both people and players. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned!

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