- Game Day
- Fan Zone
Perhaps it’s a good thing select members of this training camp roster only have to wait until Tuesday to hit someone in another uniform. That’s because the intensity and competitiveness of camp has really heated up in the last couple of days. There has been pushing and shoving. Lots of cursing and choice words have been exchanged. Manny Arceneaux says that just comes with the territory of guys battling for spots as we get over the “hump days” of camp.
“Every day you have to come out here and prove yourself, whether you are a seven year veteran like myself or if you have been in camp for however many days as the rookies have,” said Arceneaux on Sunday.
“Them guys are in the trenches, man. It’s hard work so everybody’s temper is a little bit shorter around this time. We’ve been getting the heat and mosquitos out here, then you factor in meetings and your patience grows very thin. For some guys it’s like a time bomb waiting to go off, but everything is controlled. Once we leave the field, we’re all brothers again.”
This writer can also attest to the fact the mosquitos in Kamloops are a lot worse than they were last year. The one on one drills have been the most common time for guys to start going back and forth. Veterans Rolly Lumbala and Jason Arakgi have engaged in a couple of minor dust ups, only to be laughing and joking with another when all is said and done. For guys who have been at this awhile, sometimes they need a little spice added to the long grind. When broached about the back and forth, all Lumbala could do was laugh.
“As you can tell by the footage, I was the victim. Jason is the dirty player and I was just defending myself,” explained the fullback in a loud, tongue in cheek manner.
From a defensive view, TJ Lee can certainly understand the intense nature of these practices. That comes with the territory of having some ball hawk DB’s to go against a stacked group of receivers each and every day.
“That speaks to the team’s aggression,” said Lee.
“We want to come out here and make plays, we all want to battle and we all want to win. Every play, offence has to win or defence has to win, but as long as we are out there fighting it shows a lot about us.”
They all understand the team goal for 2017. That adds yet another element to how competitive the grind can get.
Perhaps that extra energy was a sign to the coaching staff as well: Sunday’s workload was scaled back to just one 70-minute, non-padded practice in the afternoon. Nothing is set in stone as far as a depth chart for Tuesday’s pre-season opener in Calgary. But it was worth noting David Foucault (LT), Charles Vaillancourt (LG), Cody Husband (C), Kirby Fabien (RG) and Antonio Johnson (RT) were the linemen taking reps. with the first team offence. Hunter Steward was resting some bumps and bruises and did not practice.
As expected, the receiving corps featured some younger flavour with Danny Vandervoort, Steven Adekolu, Douglas McNeill, Deon Long and speedster Corey Jones getting a bulk of the first team snaps. All four quarterbacks will make the trip to Calgary, with Wally Buono yet to announce a starter. As the battle for number three continues, one would think Keith Price and Alex Ross see most of the action.
While we’re on the topic, Buono saluted the work Frederic Paquette-Perrault in training camp. The McGill signal caller is in Kamloops as part of the Canadian Quarterback Internship Program; which allows CFL clubs to work with U Sports quarterbacks in camp and pre-season. UBC’s Michael O’Connor attended the last two seasons. Paquette-Perrault was summoned to “break down” practice amid chants of “Merci!” from his heckling teammates.
In addition to Steward, defensive linemen Frank Alexander, Mic’hael Brooks, Luther Maddy and Bryant Turner Jr. were out of action Sunday. Running back Shaquille Murray-Lawrence and defensive back Mondo Williams also took another day off.
In response to some of these injuries the club officially signed former Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman Harold Brantley. He joined the Bengals as a non-drafted free agent after a serious car crash nearly ended his pro aspirations. Brantley took part in Sunday’s practice.
The club will hold one final walkthrough ahead of the Tuesday visit to Calgary. It goes from 11:00AM-12:00PM at Hillside Stadium.
Matt Baker: email@example.com