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Cole Pepper: Jags Hold Open Practice, Big Saturday In Local Sports This Weekend

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars, Suns, Sharks, Armada, the U.S. men's national soccer team, and powerboat racing are all making waves this week. Cole Pepper told us all about it in his weekly sports wrap.

Jaguars prepare for 2014 season

The Jaguars hold Organized Team Activities (OTA’s) — or off-season practices — Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Thursday's event is open to the public beginning at 10:50 a.m. with gates opening at 10:15. The other two sessions are not open to the public.

There has certainly been a buzz around the Jaguars ever since the draft.

Quarterback Blake Bortles, the Jags first round pick, and both second round receivers, Marquise Lee and Allen Robinson were in Los Angeles along with several dozen other rookies getting pictures taken in their game jerseys this weekend at the rookie premier. It had to be quite a moment for those guys to put on NFL jerseys for the first time.

WATCH: TMZ asks Blake Bortles and Marquise Lee about alligators in Florida in sharing their "deepest, darkest secrets"

Big weekend for local sports events

The Jaguars OTA's are just the appetizer to the entrée that is Saturday in the Jacksonville sports scene.

On Saturday, the Suns play at 1 p.m. at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville and The Sharks kick-off at 3 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Arena.

Meanwhile at the Firefighter Museum across the street from EverBank Field, the Armada will be holding a pre-match tailgate party all in advance of the U.S. men’s national soccer team playing their final tune up before heading to Brazil for the World Cup.

Credit U.S. Soccer / Facebook
Starting players on the U.S. men's national soccer team.

The U.S. will face Nigeria in their toughest of three matches in the so-called “Send-off Series.” The U.S. beat Turkey on Sunday in New York and took down Azerbaijan last week in San Francisco. I think this is going to be a great event.

Also on Saturday and Sunday, the Powerboat P1 races will be taking place on the St. John’s River. There is free viewing for the races at Memorial Park in Riverside both days beginning at 11:30 a.m.

So what does this all mean? Two things. First, that there is plenty to do in Jacksonville this week. I’m sure Kerry Speckman will have a busy report later this week.

The other thing I think is that when you combine the USMNT game, next spring’s return of March Madness to town, the SEC women's basketball tournament that will come in 2016, the U.S. Curling Championships, and you can see that Jacksonville is no longer in a state of building a reputation as a city that is friendly to hosting big sporting events and that the city CAN operate these events.

You can follow Melissa Ross on Twitter @MelissainJax and Cole Pepper @ColePepper.

Melissa Ross joined WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. During her career as a television and radio news anchor and reporter, Melissa has won four regional Emmys for news and feature reporting.