For some, it was a chance to make a final impression. For others, it was a controlled practice.
With more than 100 people in attendance, the Augusta Stallions held their first scrimmage at the Augusta State soccer field on Sunday.
"I was looking for some guys who are on the bubble," Stallions head coach Mike Neu said. "It's unfair in arena football. You have to make some decisions on some players very quick. I was trying to give some guys an opportunity to step up and make some plays and to stake their claim on why they should be a part of this team."
Neu most likely will trim his roster of more than 30 players as early as this morning.
In the hour-and-a-half scrimmage, the Stallions ran 60 plays, with players participating on both sides of the ball. Neu, though, knows his team isn't ready to play a full game.
"Conditioning is definitely something we need to improve on," he said. "We just need to order up some nice weather here so it can be nice and hot where these guys can sweat."
In this world of 8-on-8 football, J.J. McQueen, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound wide receiverdefensive back, caught the game's first touchdown pass and added a 45-yard touchdown reception. But McQueen realized that he soon won't have a sideline to protect him.
"I was trying to keep in my mind that there was a wall over there," he said. "I tried to make sure I ran everything away from it if possible."
Quarterback Aaron Sparrow thought the team played well, especially since it was only the third day of training camp.
"A lot of the guys executed on offense, and they played well defensively," he said. "Coach Neu made some great decisions in play-calling."
As quarterback, Sparrow doesn't have to play on defense. However, his position keeps him busy.
"Being a quarterback, you have several leadership responsibilities," he said. "I just wanted to make sure that everybody was in the right spot and knew what they were doing when they were out there."
The Stallions will practice Monday and Tuesday before playing a scrimmage in Charleston, S.C., on Saturday. Augusta opens its season on the road at Jacksonville, Fla., on April 7.
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 114.