Following the completion of a successful first weekend of Swarm Training Camp, head coach Ed Comeau and players spoke with members of the media about the camp and expectations heading into the final weekend of Training Camp. Here’s a look at some of their comments:
Head Coach Comeau
Comeau instructing the players | Photo: Karl L. Moore
Thoughts on first weekend of Training Camp:
The energy was good, the intensity was good, which are things that we really want, and it continued throughout the weekend, so that’s always a good sign that guys came to camp in really good shape.
How they welcomed in new players:
There’s a number of new faces. We did some work with them prior to camp to help them with the systems, and I think that really pays dividends when guys come in and understand right off the bat.
How a competitive camp makes for hard roster decisions for the coaches and Swarm Owner and General Manager John Arlotta:
It’s always tough to see guys pour everything they have out there, but those are the tough decisions that we make, and we make decisions that we think are obviously in the best interest of the Swarm.
Expectations for the final weekend of Swarm Training Camp:
We’ve got a lot of stuff to cover still, things we didn’t get to this weekend, a lot of situational things, a lot of teaching to cover, but certainly we want to ramp up the pace and the tempo even higher. With an exhibition game (against Rochester), it really gives us good prep to get ready for the Home Opener, and it gives the newer guys the chance to play in a game and see the pace of a NLL game up close and personal.
I think it’ll be a good weekend. We’ve got a lot to do, but guys are looking forward to it and already excited about next weekend.
Bomberry trying to intercept a pass | Photo: Karl L. Moore
How he was feeling after his first NLL camp:
Pretty sore right now. It was fun to get out here and see all the guys and kind of experience Georgia and what the facilities are like and get a comfort level going into the season.
What he learned from his first professional lacrosse camp:
It’s get up and go, and it’s fast fast fast fast. If you’re not in the best physical shape you can be, you know you’re going to get left behind. That’s something I’m definitely going to work on and definitely looking forward to the challenge.
How he acclimated with his new teammates:
I played with a lot of guys before, and they really helped me build a comfort level here. It made the adjustment really easy for me.
How he felt after shaking off the rust:
After that, I was just having fun. Lacrosse is a fun game. Once you get past that nerves and stuff, you’re just playing the game. After that, it’s easy, and just keep going and you just play the best you can.
On getting to meet the fans at the open practice:
It was really cool to see all the fans. I’ve heard a lot about them, and it was really cool to have all those fans out just for a practice. I’m definitely excited to see what they have for the Home Opener; looking forward to that for sure.
On being ready to lay it all out at the final weekend of Training Camp:
Definitely. Last chance to show the coaches what I’ve got, and definitely look forward to making an impact as best I can and hopefully make the team.
Poulin looking to clear the ball | Photo: Karl L. Moore
How he felt after Training Camp:
Great. Year 14, feels as exciting as year one. It’s been really cool. We’ve got a really good squad here.
On all the goalies being from Kitchener, Ontario:
It’s pretty wild when you think about it, four guys from the same town playing the same position and all on the same team in the NLL … It’s a really cool thing, too, that we can push each other and compete for the two jobs. Nobody has anything secured and guaranteed. Everybody here is pushing each other, and everyone is capable, all four are really talented goalies.
What he saw from the other goalies that he liked:
We all have a very similar style in the sense that we’re not just blockers; we actually move really well. The young guys, there was no intimidation for them. They came in to a NLL camp, first time for a couple of them, and you would never tell. They came in with a lot of confidence.
On the importance of being a veteran goaltender:
It’s our job as veteran goalies to understand you’re battling for a job but to make everybody feel welcome and know that they have a chance and to encourage them when they’re doing things good and pick them up when things aren’t going well, which we didn’t have an issue with this weekend because everybody did really well.
Guys helped me when I was young. I went to camp with Bob Watson and Anthony Cosmo when I was young. Even though we were all competing for a job, they were very positive with me and encouraged me when I was letting a lot of shots in and helping me get to know players, talk to a couple of them about guys and their tendencies on our team and just to help them out along the way.
On having the fans out for open practice:
When you say it’s an open practice and we only had about less than a week’s notice, you never know what you’re going to get, ten people, twenty people. But there was five hundred people there. It was really, really cool to see, for them to come out and support us with their jerseys and t-shirts on and everybody so excited to get going … You could tell everybody was trying to show what they got not only in front of the coaching staff and general manager, but in front of the fans, too.
Expectations for the last weekend of Training Camp:
The importance of taking care of our bodies and making sure we’re mentally ready is very key this week. But it’s just one last opportunity for guys to fight for those last couple of spots.
Forward and assistant captain Shayne Jackson
Jackson defended by rookie Matt Dunn | Photo: Karl L. Moore
Thoughts on team after the first weekend of Training Camp:
We did a great job as a group coming out with intensity. That’s what we need, and push the pace right away … It’s good to get the rust off and have a good, hard camp going into next weekend…
We were all chomping on the bit, ready to go. We’ve been ready to go for probably the last month and ready to play. It was good just to get together as a group and play. At the end of the day, that’s just what we love to do is just get out there and play.
On building team chemistry with new players early:
This weekend, everyone was doing a good job of talking with one another and high-fiving, and that goes a long way throughout a season, guys getting to know each other off the floor, learn about their families.
On getting to see fans at open practice:
That was great to see the fans that came out. I think they had fun seeing what we do in a practice. It’s a lot different than a game, a lot more up and down. It was great to see them afterwards. I coach some kids down here, and they were at the practice. It was good to see them.
Expectations for the last weekend of Training Camp:
We want to push the pace. I thought we set the bar pretty high this weekend, so we’ve got to elevate our play. We know every team is in the same boat as us, and they’re working their hardest every week, so we’ve got to be able to match that and make sure we’re prepared for our game on the 15th.
Georgia opens its 2018-19 season against the New England Black Wolves on Saturday, Dec. 15. Faceoff is set for 7:05 p.m. ET. The Swarm will be celebrating Star Wars Night presented by Peachtree Orthopedics, and players will wear special Star Wars themed jerseys and shorts.
Following the game, fans will have the opportunity to bid on game-used, autographed Star Wars uniforms. Select proceeds from the uniform auction will benefit the Rally Foundation.
Early-arriving fans will receive light-up Bamstix and have the opportunity to mingle with several dozen Star Wars characters in the 501st Legion, Georgia Garrison throughout the game. Tickets start at just $25, and fans can purchase tickets by visiting GeorgiaSwarm.com/StarWars or calling 844-4-GASWARM.