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Chargers Shine Bright Under the Lights
Football returned to Qualcomm Stadium Wednesday when the San Diego Chargers held their annual night practice of training camp.
Thousands of fans showed up to cheer on their hometown team, and the Bolts didn’t disappoint as they continued to look sharp in their preparation for the 2012 season.
While every practice is important, Wednesday night’s was extra special for the rookies as it marked their first time in a stadium as professional football players.
“This is unbelievable,” said third-round pick Brandon Taylor, who has spent much of training camp playing with the first-team defense with Atari Bigby nursing a minor injury. “It’s another step in reaching that dream of playing in the NFL. It makes it feel more real.”
First-round pick Melvin Ingram echoed those sentiments, relishing the moment as he stood on the field surveying the stadium.
“It’s just a blessing to be out here,” he said. “Playing under the lights, it gets you more pumped up. When they come on, it’s time to perform. And I think you saw our play get better tonight because of it.”
Head Coach Norv Turner certainly felt that way. Earlier in the week he expressed his fondness for playing in the stadium under the lights, believing it brings out the best in his players. That definitely was the case Wednesday night as he reiterated its positive effect following another competitive practice.
“It’s just great to get out here obviously in our stadium,” he said. “We had a good crowd. And just to get the great work against each other (helps the team). As I said the other day, when you’re going the ones vs. ones, going against each other, it’s going to be good. There’s going to be give and take. And I feel both sides of the ball are going to improve by going against good players.”
A major reason for the improved play was the fans, who cheered loudly throughout the night. Their support was not lost on the players, who appreciated the way they cheered on the team.
“This felt like I came home tonight,” said Taylor. “The fans, the way they were cheering, it felt like they were my family. It feels good to be supported the way they came out tonight. I can’t wait to see what it’s like when we play the games here. It makes me want to work even harder to reward them for their support.”
Quick Hits Read
- Ryan Mathews returned to practice after sitting out yesterday’s following a minor car crash. He looked sharp, breaking off a big run much to the fans' delight.
- Malcom Floyd made a variety of nifty catches both in one-on-one drills and in the team scrimmage portion. The highlight was a 30-yard diving reception where he adjusted his body in mid-air.
- Robert Meachem slipped towards the end of a route and fell to the field, but showed great concentration by catching the ball as he was on the ground.
- Eric Weddle sprinted to break up a 40-yard pass that would have gone for a score.
- Brandon Taylor tipped the ball away from Antonio Gates in the end zone on the final play of the two-minute drill.
- Vincent Brown caught a 21-yard touchdown in the far back corner of the end zone.
- Antonio Gates had a nice catch and run for a 35-yard gain.
- Nate Kaeding and Nick Novak each connected on 53-yard field goal attempts.
- Ronnie Brown had a one-handed catch along the sideline that wowed the crowd.
- Don’t forget to show up for FanFest at Qualcomm Stadium on Saturday. In addition to watching the team practice, you will have a special opportunity to get autographs from Chargers alumni.