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After an injury-plagued first training camp and several weeks of learning his CFL craft on the practice roster, Luther Maddy is itching to show what he can do in game action.
The hulking defensive tackle out of Virginia Tech has been getting some extra looks in practice and could be one of the newcomers making his professional debut for Saturday’s final regular season game against the Blue Bombers.
“I feel the same way now as I did in training camp; just real grateful to be here,” said Maddy.
“I wasn’t playing any ball last year because of my injury (torn pectoral), so I have been blessed be out here with these guys competing and getting better every day.”
With the playoff dream officially over for the first time since 1996, one “luxury” the club now has is the ability to see what they have in some of the unknown commodities that have stuck around since camp broke in Kamloops on June 14th. Maddy performed well among an intriguing group of unknowns before having his camp cut short due to a broken wrist. He wasn’t cleared to practice again until after the regular season started.
Should this expected audition go well, be an interesting wild card to think about heading into 2018, but he insists he won’t think about anything beyond this weekend.
“I’m excited to get into a game and finally feel that game speed,” added Maddy.
“Obviously it’s two downs, so it is a lot quicker of a turnaround. I’m just trying to get out there and get a good feel for the game. I’ve been doing it throughout practice, but it’s obviously going to be a different tempo during the game. I’m just excited to play my first CFL game and showcase my talents.”
Maddy’s five-year run at Virginia Tech included a First- Team All-AAC Conference selection in his senior year and an appearance in the 2016 East-West Shrine Game. During a training camp chat with BCLions.com, he counted the thrilling 55-52 win over Tulsa in the 2015 Independence Bowl as his college highlight; not because his late sack helped seal the result, but because it sent legendary head coach Frank Beamer into retirement on a thrilling note.
Maddy was thrilled to come north and learn from another legend in Wally Buono. He feels that experience with the CFL all-time wins leader has definitely come as advertised.
“It’s just crazy; when you go into the meetings Coach Wally is in the back and he’ll stop the film and give us pointers; the defensive line, the defensive backs, the linebackers and even today with Ty Long and how he was kicking. I just find that amazing. He knows so much about the game and I don’t take that for granted. I try to pick his brain whenever I can and listen to what he says during meetings”, explained Maddy.
Buono has spoken highly about some of the younger talent on his roster and feels Maddy reminds him of one the best defensive linemen in the entire league.
Physically, he’s a lot like (the Eskimos’ Almondo) Sewell,” claimed Buono.
“Quick, stout and strong. At training camp he was active, physical and disruptive.
“When it comes to those injured rookies, you heal then, treat them and put them on the practice roster. Now he’s going to be getting an opportunity. The other thing that hurt him as when we changed the ratio. People forget that.”
The ratio change Buono speaks of was using Nationals Maxx Forde and now Junior Luke in a rotation on the interior. Now another International must come off the roster for Maddy to dress.
Along with learning the Canadian brand of football and adjusting to lining up one yard off the ball, the native of Delray Beach, Florida has taken some time to explore his new home and has come across a couple of favourite tourist attractions Greater Vancouver has to offer.
“Probably the most memorable was the Capilano suspension bridge, how do you pronounce that? It was crazy,” chuckled Maddy.
“I went to TELUS World of Science too, that was really cool. I’m one of those guys who wake up in the morning and have to get out of the house. I’ll just hop on a Skytrain and go somewhere,” said Maddy.
Make no mistake: this week’s assignment remains very much at the top of Maddy’s to do list. Facing Andrew Harris and a solid Blue Bombers offensive line is all the motivation he needs.
“I like playing against the better teams. I am excited to against one of the better guys (Harris) and their quarterback is real good. They have a lot of good receivers and skilled players,” added Maddy.
You can bet the chance to hit someone in a different coloured uniform will be downright satisfying as well.
“I am just excited to go out there and show you all what I can do,” stated the former Hokie.