On Sunday night we got our first look at MLFB action as the four teams squared off in their inaugural jamboree. The teams competed against each other in a 10-10-10 scrimmage in which the offenses started at the 40-yard line. This scrimmage is part of the Virginia Armada training camp. Here are the five big takeaways I observed for the Virginia Armada.
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The Armada Defensive Line Will Be A Team Strength
Throughout the evening, no team could move the ball on the ground against the Armada. Anchored by former NFL player Elijah Qualls, the interior of the Armada defensive line ate up blockers. As a result, the linebackers were able to stay clean and make stops. Qualls, in particular, commanded double-teams nearly every snap. A strong defensive line is the key to making any opposing offense one dimensional. This should be a continued focus for the Virginia Armada training camp.
Strong Goal Line Performances
The Armada offense and defense both showed off strong performances in the red zone. On offense, the Armada bullied their way into the end zone against the Airborne through a power running attack. After getting the ball down to the 10-yard line, they had two five-yard rushes to score. The offensive line opened holes and the backs displayed patience in close quarters. Meanwhile, on defense, the Armada forced the Ohio Force into four straight incompletions from inside the three-yard line. They maintained tight coverage and played good assignment football. Credit to the coaching staff for preparing the players for those situations.
The Armada Are Deep At Quarterback
While we did not get to see D’Angelo Fulford in action, the other Virginia Armada training camp quarterbacks gave solid performances. George Bowen showed beautiful touch and placement on a 30-yard completion in his sequence against the Airborne. He displayed good command of the offense while leading a touchdown drive. Toward the end of scrimmage, Nik Rango had a few nice completions as well. He had nice zip on underneath patterns and closed out scrimmage with a 40-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Cole Thurness.
The Secondary Is Feisty
Typically, these types of practices are set up for the offense to succeed. While the Armada gave up a few completions, most of the night their defensive backs were breaking up passes. They play tight man coverage and have the speed to keep up with receivers downfield. Additionally, the communication on the backend appears solid. Safeties were always in the right position to help on deep passes. Finally, even when there was a completion, the defense displayed solid tackling techniques. They kept plays in front of them and tackled receivers as soon as they caught the ball.
Coach Shea’s Influence
Going into the jamboree I was excited to see Terry Shea’s offense and it did not disappoint. A disciple of Bill Walsh, we saw key elements of the West Coast Offense with a dynamic screen game. You can also expect tight ends to be featured prominently in the passing attack both as a safety valve and as a primary option. He and offensive line coach Art Valero also showed a strong inside running game. It should be a fun and multiple offense to watch in the regular season.
In total, the Armada showed a lot of positives this evening. Fans should be excited for a successful upcoming season.