WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 11, 2010
Dolphins get first two-a-day practice in the books
After the JU defense does its job, Elliott Finkley casually runs onto the field to do his job.
His job is to change field position and make special plays – as the punt returner for the Dolphins, leading a special teams unit that looks to be special in 2010.
A native of Jacksonville, the senior is a dangerous weapon in the Dolphins arsenal, averaging 12.9 yards per punt return. His ability to change field position has led to teams kicking away from him, limiting him to just 24 punt returns during 2009.
He has returned three punts for touchdowns in his career, including a career-best 60 yarder at No. 1 Appalachain State in 2008.
“Having a guy like Elliott on returns is a huge boost for us,” said JU head coach Kerwin Bell. “We want our special teams to be special. With a weapon like Elliott back there, it really changes your opponent’s philosophy when they kick it away.
“When you look back at how we won the championship in 2008, our special teams were a big part of our success. We’re expecting this unit to excel again this season.”
While Finkley leads the punt return unit, his counterpart on kickoff returns, Colby Walden, looks to build off of a promising freshman campaign.
“Colby is another special player who has great speed and quickness for a kickoff returner,” Bell said. “He has the ability to change momentum and set the tone for us a lot this season.”
As the return game looks solid with two returnees, the punting should be in safe hands as well. Logan Chipperfield returns for his junior season after a strong sophomore campaign where he averaged 39.9 yards per punt, with seven punts of 50 yards or longer.
“It’s not often that you have a punter that is a weapon, but we have one in Logan,” Bell said. “He has the ability to flip the field on our opponents and is only getting better and better each year.”
The one question mark entering training camp is kicker. Donovan Curry, he of the 50-yard game winning field goal against San Diego in 2008, has graduated. The Dolphins have a wide-open battle between Florida State transfer Alex Jones and senior Josh Hostetler.
“Both guys have a good leg, but we need somebody who is going to be consistent from 40 yards and in,” Bell said. “We can’t let good drives come up empty. We’re looking for the guy who we can rely on to get us points if we can’t get into the endzone.”
TWO-A-DAYS BEGIN: The JU football team got its first two-a-day practice in on Wednesday, working for two hours in the morning and little more than two hours in the afternoon session.
“I was pleased with how we held up in our first two-a-day,” Bell said. “The practices were intense and we really got after it in the morning session. I like that we’re getting better each day.”
INFORMATION GUIDE NOW AVAILABLE: The 2010 JU Football Information Guide, taking the place of the tradition media guide, is now available in PDF format online. You can view it by clicking here.
SCRIMMAGE SCHEDULE SET: The Dolphins will hold a scrimmage the final three Saturdays of training camp, starting Aug. 14.
The first scrimmage will be held at Fletcher High School, starting at 1 p.m. The second will be on Aug. 21 at The Bolles School starting at 5 p.m. The final scrimmage will be on campus on Aug. 28 and will kickoff near 10 a.m.
The Aug. 28 scrimmage is also “Dolphin Day.” Fans are encouraged to come out and take in the final preseason scrimmage as well as meet some of the Dolphins from the other sports. There will also be prizes and giveaways throughout the day. Admission is free.
SEASON TICKETS ON SALE: Season tickets are on sale for $60 with “The Grove” parking passes going for $60 as well. Visit JUDolphins.com/tickets or contact Nikki Swanson in the JU ticket office at (904) 256-7444 for more information.