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TRAINING CAMP DAY 1: IN QUOTES

April 6, 2019
Washington Valor training camp, presented by Athletic Performance Inc., opened Saturday in Gambrills, Md., as the team begins preparation for the 2019 season. The Valor’s 35-man training camp roster features both returning contributors, like ArenaBowl XXXI MVP  Arvell Nelson and starting linebacker  Jimmy Gordon, and new faces, like veteran defensive back  Trey Wolfe and rookie wideout  Dezmon Epps. With practice number one in the books, head coach  Benji McDowell and a number of players reflected on their offseason, how it feels to be back at camp and what goals they have for the upcoming season.

BENJI MCDOWELL (HEAD COACH)

On being back at camp:

“It’s good to get these guys out here and see what kind of shape they’re in and see how it all comes together. I think we’ve got a pretty good group of guys. It’s the first day so it’s not always as clean as you want it to be, but to be on the field and actually having them here is the first step to everything.”

On goals for the first weekend of camp:

“Just letting these guys see how we operate and getting them to trust in what we do. We want to keep guys healthy – not having guys coming out here practicing hurt. It’s a long season. After that, just making sure guys get back to playing. Everyone’s in workout mode. We’ve got to get them back to football.”

 

JIMMY GORDON (LB)

On being back at camp:

“It’s awesome to finally be back. These couple weeks are just about getting mentally and physically prepared. We’re ready to go, focused up and ready to bring another championship to D.C.”

On his goals for the season:

“Personally, I want to make All-Arena. As a team, I want us to stand together, work together and get to that endpoint of the ArenaBowl, but at this point, you just have to worry about one game at a time.”

 

JAMES ATOE (DL)

On being back at camp:

“It feels great to be back playing football again. We take six months off and you start to get anxious and itchy to be playing again, so it feels great to be here. Just enjoying life and being blessed.”

On his favorite part of the offseason:

“I got to hang out with a bunch of friends, went to Hawaii for a little bit. After grinding for most of the offseason, I gave myself a couple weeks off in Hawaii just enjoying it.”

On his goals for the season:

“My personal goal is to be the best player I can be. To be one of the players that makes guys say ‘Oh, he’s not to be messed with,’ or ‘We’ve got to bring our game against him.’ In terms of the team, our goal is to win a championship, but we’re taking it week-by-week and just enjoying the process. Focusing on the task at hand, whether that’s a game, practice or camp. Today, it’s camp.”

 

ARVELL NELSON (QB)

On being back at camp:

“It feels great to be back in camp. I’ve been itching since the ArenaBowl last season. For five or six months, guys have been thirsty to get back out here today. It feels great. Guys were flying around today. It’s a good sign that the boys came in here in shape and ready to work.”

On the team’s goals for camp:

“Get to clicking and take care of the small things. Once we take care of that, that big things will come. We’re trying to get reps, depth, alignment, assignments and once we get those things together, the big plays and the big moments will come.

On his favorite part of the offseason:

“Coaching, for sure. It was a joy coaching kids this offseason. It was my first year really coaching high school football, so that was a different experience for me. The guys took to me pretty well and I think I got the most out of them.”

On his goals for the season:

“Personally, I always want to have a high completion percentage. I set a goal for 70%. If you hit that number, you’re normally successful. As a team, ultimately, we want to win the championship. But that’s a long way away. We have to take it one day at a time, but ultimately, we want to repeat and win the championship.”

 

TREY WOLFE (DB)

On being back at camp:

“I’m definitely happy to be back here at camp, feeling good and healthy after the offseason. I’m definitely excited and happy to be in Washington. “

On his goals for camp:

“We want to make each other better and be competitive out here. I want to learn. Learn the system out here and just get better overall.”

On his goals for the season:

“As a team, we want to win the championship again. We are defending ArenaBowl champions and I’m excited to be a part of that. Individually, I want to lead the league in interceptions.”

 

FREDRICK OBI (DB)

On being back at camp:

“It feels good to get back out here with my guys. We’ve got some old faces, some new faces. Everybody gets to start running around and get some comradery. It feels good.”

On his goals for camp:

“The focus is just to get better every day. If we can string together days where everybody gets just a little bit better, by the end of it, we just keep going up. By game number one, we’re clicking on all cylinders.”

On his favorite part of the offseason:

“Vacation in California, mostly. Venice Beach, Sana Monica Pier and Oxnard. A lot of beaches and spending time with friends and family.”

On his goals for the season:

“Personally, I want to win defensive MVP. That’s my main goal. As a team, get back in that ArenaBowl and win it all. That’s all there is to it.”

 The Washington Valor open the 2019 season on Friday, April 26 at 7 p.m. against the Baltimore Brigade at Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, Md.


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