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UWF Concludes Spring Football, Looks Ahead to Fall

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Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media
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Spring football practice at the University of West Florida wrapped up Saturday, with the inaugural Blue-White Spring game on campus.

More than 2,000 fans sat in folding chairs and temporary bleachers – some even tailgating – on embankments around University Park Field to watch the more than 90 Argonaut players go through their paces under mostly cloudy, windy conditions, and 70-degree temperatures.

“It’s gone very well, really pleased with the effort and the focus that our guys have had,” said Head Coach Pete Shinnick. He praised the team for its great enthusiasm and energy, through four weeks on the field and nine weeks in the weight room.

As for the game, it was more of a controlled scrimmage, with the coaching staff looking for certain things.

“You’re looking to see that final step in a live competition before the fall,” Shinnick said. “In some people you’re looking to see how they grasp all the things we’ve been talking about. And then, for the guys that we feel like have put themselves into starting positions, we want to continue to see them get better every day.”

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Credit Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media
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At just after 11:00 Saturday morning, the Blue and White Team captains and game officials moved to the center of the field for the coin toss, to be conducted by UWF President Judy Bense. There was no shortage of game officials, who were at a Gulf South Conference meeting in Pensacola. The 40 or so “zebras” called the game on a rotating basis.

Among those on the embankment was Barbara Wheeler, who was watching her son, linebacker Martez Wheeler.

“I think they’re going to have a pretty good football team; not just my son, but everybody,” said Wheeler, who lives in Linden, Alabama.

Four touchdowns and a field goal were score during the 90-minute scrimmage, where players wearing both blue and white jerseys played for both teams. The offenses got off to a slow start, with Shinnick bringing them over during a timeout.

Among the individual performances, quarterback Caleb Nobles completed 19 of 28 pass attempts for 162 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Anas Hasic caught five passes for 53 yards and a score.

After the game, Argos Head Coach Pete Shinnick said he, his staff, and the players will have a busy off-season.

“We have [the] last week of classes [this] week, we have finals the week after,” Shinnick said. “We start our offseason program in May, and then we go right into about a four-week program before the 4th of July and then we go into a four-week program right after that.”

All of it leading up to West Florida’s inaugural game September 3 against Ave Maria University in Naples, kicking off an 11-game schedule. The home opener at Fetterman Field—against Missouri S&T – is a week later on September 10.      

Dave came to WUWF in September, 2002, after 14 years as News Director at the Alabama Radio Network in Montgomery, Mobile and Birmingham and a total of 27 years in commercial radio. He's also served as Alabama Bureau Chief for United Press International, and a stringer for the Birmingham Post-Herald.