Rivals pair up at Senior Bowl practice

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The Senior Bowl South Roster hit the field at Fairhope Municipal Stadium the afternoon of Monday, January 20 for their first practice with the Jacksonville Jaguars coaching staff.

Mobile native Solomon Patton ran some routes at the afternoon practice.  It’s not The Swamp, but it’s home, where the former Gator got his claws wet all the same.

There were some strange pairings in practice, but the oddest couple is the two Cody’s in the kicking game, Alabama punter Mandell holding for Auburn’s placekicker, Parkey.

FOX10 Sports Reporter Russell Colburn jokingly asked Parkey if at any point he thought Mandell might sabotage him on field goals.

“I did at first, but we’re good buddies all the way back from high school, so I don’t think too much about it,” Parkey said.  “I think he has my back on this one.”

“I like [Parkey],” Mandell said.  “He has been one of my friends throughout college.  Everybody in Tuscaloosa would

probably get mad at me for saying that, but he’s a good guy, and a good friend.”

“We’re both trying to make it to the next level, so I trust him,” Parkey said.
Alabama wide out Kevin Norwood is trying to make it, as well.  Monday, he put a major emphasis on blocking downfield, an ability sought after by NFL scouts.

“I prided myself in that at [Alabama], coach taught us well, so it was my thing to do, so I’m going to get it done,” Norwood said.  “I do whatever it takes to get the team moving the ball.”

‘Even if you’re blocking for Jay Prosch out of the backfield?’ Colburn asked.

“[Yeah], just as long as he doesn’t run over me,” Norwood replied.

At 6-foot, 260 pounds, many can say they’ve been run over by the Mobile native, who’s still getting used to playing nice with other SEC players.

“It definitely takes some getting used to,” Prosch said.  “You’re with guys who you played against all year, but after a day or so it really is cool to finally get to know those guys, and feel like you’re on the team with them, so it really brings in some new friendships and a really good feel about everything.”

‘Even those guys on the Florida State sideline?’ Colburn asked.

“Yeah, we’re cool, football is football,” Prosch said.  “They’re good guys so we’re getting along.”

For Prosch, these practices and this game are about much more than football.  His mother, Iris, lost her battle with brain cancer in September of 2012.  Ever since then he has played not only to fulfill a childhood dream, but to honor her memory.

“I feel like she’s with me everywhere I go,” Prosch said.  “I started this when I was in the fourth grade, trying to make it to the NFL, that was my dream as a little kid.  I carry her with me everywhere I go, so it’s definitely part for her, part for me, too, so it’s a little bit of both.”

For the 50-plus players on the South roster, it’s an honor to play in the 2014 Senior Bowl.  For Prosch, it’s a happy homecoming.

“It’s just unreal, amazing, I’m enjoying it,” Prosch said.  “It’s an honor for me to be here, I grew up watching this game, being a part of it in this area, so it’s just an honor; it means a lot to me.”

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