Training fields

Jags face ‘another hurdle’ as fields are rebuilt

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville’s normal practice ranges are a construction site. Heavy equipment. Earth mounds. Scaffolding, steel beams and some concrete walls.

It’s where the Jaguars are scheduled to hold minicamp this week and training camp next month. Instead, the team is cramped on the field on game day for off-season practices and will travel by bus to a nearby high school for training camp.

The setup is far from ideal, but the end result – a $120 million performance center that will take the team out of its stadium for the first time since its inception nearly three decades ago – should be worth it. the penalty.

“That’s another hurdle to get over, but it’s not too bad,” quarterback Trevor Lawrence said.

The Jaguars announced a 10-year naming rights agreement with Miller Electric on Monday, partnering with a local company as the small-market franchise enters the opening phase of what could end up being a revitalization of a billion in downtown Jacksonville. That’s the vision of Shad Khan, who contributed more than $500 million to the Jaguars during his decade of ownership.

The standalone football facility is the latest in its list of ‘Khan-ceptions’ and ‘Khan-structions’. The Jaguars are also set to break ground on a shipyard project that will include a Four Seasons hotel, residences, an office building, a city-owned marina and an orthopedic center. It is expected to be completed by the end of 2025.

A longer-term goal is to revamp the team’s aging home stadium, TIAA Bank Field. The Jaguars believe the construction of the stand-alone facility was a necessary step for the Bank to be upgraded to modern standards which include covered seating.

One of the few NFL teams that remain based in their home stadium, the Jags would need a place to roam during construction that would take place over multiple offseasons.

When the Miller Electric Center opens next summer, it will house offices, locker rooms, medical facilities, meeting rooms, a drafts room, two full-size grass practice fields as well as an indoor field. as well as shaded public viewing booths, concession areas and a team store.

The concept for the building came to fruition under former Jaguars coach Urban Meyer last year. His replacement, Doug Pederson, offered his thoughts on several potential changes, including the new head coach’s office.

Workers continue construction of the Jacksonville Jaguars Sports Performance Center, Tuesday, May 31, 2022, in Jacksonville, Fla. The center, which is expected to be completed in 2023, includes nearly 130,000 square feet of space that will house new meeting rooms, weight rooms, locker rooms and training grounds.

“Maybe a little bigger,” he laughed. “There will be more windows.”

Jacksonville has made several changes to its playing field to better accommodate approximately 90 players during practices and plans to re-turf several times in 2022. The Jags have added artificial turf between the playing surface and the walls, creating more areas for stance exercises. This worked well for organized team activities, but these were spread out over days and weeks.

There’s no such luxury for training camp, so the Jaguars will practice at Episcopal High School. Episcopal has several fields available to Jacksonville. The Jags will also spend part of a week on the road participating in joint workouts with the Atlanta Falcons.

Before that, however, there will be dozens of bus journeys and the need for great coordination.

“Honestly, it’s a good thing that we’re kind of going to (get through),” special teams coach Heath Farwell said. “It’s a challenge, but it’s cool as a group. That’s team building. All those little challenges in building a team, that’s the culture that Coach Pederson talks about. This is what we do. We see it positively.

“It is a challenge that we will take up. Are we gonna have to drive a bus to training camp? Okay, that’s more time we’re gonna spend together on the bus. That’s how I see it. »

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