D. Orlando Ledbetter - Staff
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Flowery Branch --- About halfway through the first minicamp practice, Falcons coach Jim Mora delivered good news to the fans.
After Saturday's practice, they would be allowed to approach the players for autographs. The almost larger-than-training camp gathering greeted the news with thunderous cheers.
"One thing that I've learned is that it's OK not to put a fence up at practice," Mora said. "Let people be involved. Let them in a little bit."
The fans, who endured on-and-off rain showers, were in training camp form. They even booed wide receiver Roddy White after he dropped his third pass.
White heard the catcalls.
"It's hard out there," he said. "You have to come out there, you always have to perform well."
But White was back in fans' good graces after beating second-round draft pick Jimmy Williams on a couple of routes.
White enjoyed the battle.
"He's a V-Tech [Virginia Tech] guy and they've got attitudes," White said. "They want to go out there and do their best. They are all like that, so I want to go out there and compete, too."
Williams was happy to get his first NFL practice out of the way.
"It was a tough day," said Williams, who's been staying with fellow former Hokies star DeAngelo Hall since Wednesday. "But it was the first day. I dropped a couple of balls, got beat some. I'll be ready for (today). All of the jitters are out."
White, the Falcons' first-round pick last season, sympathized with Williams.
"I can relate to it," White said. "That was the same situation that I was in last year, wanting to come out there and show everybody what I can do."
Randall prepared to keep his spot
Bryan Randall feels he has the upper hand in the battle with D.J. Shockley to be the No. 3 quarterback.
"I'm feeling a lot more comfortable at this point right now than when I first came in last year," Randall said.
That Shockley, an Atlanta native and former Georgia quarterback, figures to be a fan favorite doesn't bother Randall.
"That's fine and great, but they can't go out there and play for him," Randall said.
Dunn now giving homes all year
Tailback Warrick Dunn, who through his foundation has donated dozens of homes to single mothers around the Christmas holidays in honor of his slain mother, has expanded his charity.
In conjunction with Habitat for Humanity, the Warrick Dunn Foundation donated two homes to single mothers in his hometown of Baton Rouge, La., on Friday.
"We wanted to start doing the program year-round, and I thought it was a good way to start off --- Mother's Day, back in my hometown," Dunn said. "Mother's Day is perfect because that's the reason I got this started, my mom, and to want to bless someone else this weekend, I thought it was the right time to do it."
Mathis has right moves in rehab
Cornerback Kevin Mathis, who's recovering from a severe knee injury, moved well as he took part in drills. His goal is to be at full speed by training camp.
"I still have a couple of months to get where I want to be," he said.
--- Staff writer Steve Wyche contributed to this article.