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Tampa Bay Storm has few position battles left to be settled

TAMPA — After a yearlong hiatus, the Storm resumed practice last week in advance of Friday's preseason game against Orlando at the St. Pete Times Forum.

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Coach Tim Marcum said knocking the rust off after the Arena Football League suspended play before the 2009 season has been the focus.

"We're like an old shoe," he said, joking. "We just need a little polish."

Marcum said "he has a pretty good idea" regarding most positions but a couple of question marks remain, notably at center and fullback.

Another battle for fans to keep their eyes on Friday is quarterback.

The 2007 league rookie of the year, Brett Dietz, is the starter. But the preseason game should go a long way toward deciding who will back up, B.J. Hall or former Florida State starter Drew Weatherford. Marcum said the Storm likely will keep two quarterbacks.

OPEN TRYOUT WINNER: WR Frantz Hardy thought he was all set the first time. Hardy, who played at Nebraska, participated in the Storm's open tryouts last year and earned a contract.

Then came the suspension of the 2009 season.

"But they wanted me to come out for this year's tryout," he said.

Hardy again made a good impression, becoming the only player from the Feb. 20 tryout offered a contract. Hardy said his success last year didn't make him feel any more secure about this year.

"Everything changes every year, and people get better every year," he said. "I wasn't expecting anything."

Though Frantz is in camp, he will have to battle for a roster spot. Marcum said he expects to carry three or four receivers.

LOCAL FLAVOR: There are several area high school products in camp: WR Tyrone Timmons (Tampa Bay Tech), DB Deonte Bolden (Lakewood), Hall (Dixie Hollins), K Garret Rivas (Jesuit), LB/DL Terrence Royal (Wharton), Weatherford (Land O'Lakes) and WR/DB back DeAngelo Woodie (Gibbs).

A WELCOME RETURN: The Storm signed Sedrick Robinson, the most prolific return man in league history, on Tuesday. Robinson, 35, who played for the Storm in 2008, is first in yards (10,069) and touchdowns (28).

A nine-year veteran, Robinson earned all Ironman and rookie honors in 2001 with Houston and has more than 1,000 yards in returns in five different seasons. Robinson's best season came in 2006, when he accumulated career highs of 1,855 yards and seven touchdowns.

MORE ROSTER MOVES: Tampa Bay has 35 players in camp and must get down to 23 by Monday (20 active and three inactive).

This week, it released OL Cornealius Fuamatu, OL Carnell Stewart and WR Paul Raymond.

Tampa Bay Storm has few position battles left to be settled 03/24/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 24, 2010 11:22pm]
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