In case you haven’t noticed, it’s hot out. And with the south coast of British Columbia set to experience record numbers in temperature over the next few days (40 degrees Celsius. Seriously?), it has certainly got many inside the Lions organization jacked up for the scorching heat at training camp in Kamloops starting July 10th.
But hey, CFL football is back. That’s all anyone can ask for. Given all the stupidity of the last 16 months, I’m sure many players and coaches would go to the Las Vegas desert in mid-July if that was the only option.
Kamloops is always a special place for the Lions organization. The fact we get to hold training camp in our regular location only makes the 2021 return even more exciting. With that, we dive a little deeper into some of the interesting numbers to think about when discussing 2021 Lions training camp at Thompson Rivers University.
2021 Training Camp: By The Numbers
100– the number of players expected to be on the field for day one of camp, an increase from varying numbers in previous seasons. The Lions brought 75 players to camp in 2019 and were slated to bring 100 before the 2020 version was postponed and ultimately canceled. As you’ll see below, the vast majority have never played a down in the CFL. It should make for outstanding competition.
61- at this moment, that is the number of players on the camp roster who don’t have any form of CFL experience. Now before you get antsy, consider the fact that some of these hopefuls at every position have some form of big-game experience from the NFL to big-time NCAA colleges. No different than any other CFL camp in the sense some of these guys will adapt to the Canadian game quickly, yet others will take some time. There is also an intriguing piece to this pie involving CFL Draft picks and a few other non-drafted Canadians who have experience in the three-down game. Also, a few Global Draft picks that will be looking to impress.
14- When you add it all up, that is the figure of rookie Canadian draft picks and players selected in the inaugural Global Draft in 2021. Having the majority of two rookie CFL Draft classes present in Kamloops will be a great storyline. The Lions will bring ten players selected in the 2020 and 2021 CFL Drafts, the only exceptions being 2021 1st- rounder Daniel Joseph who has a year left of NCAA eligibility and second-rounder Alaric Jackson who is a member of the Los Angeles Rams.
Fans will finally get the chance to see 2020 1st-round pick Jordan Williams fit in at linebacker while seeing how Nathan Rourke might stack up on a very impressive quarterback depth chart. As far as the Globals go, punters Jake Ford (Australia) and Takeru Yamasaki (Japan) will also get the chance to prove their worth in the field goal game. Boqiao Li (China) and Nik Gustav (Germany) will get their first taste of professional competition on the defence.
5- We are all excited to see just how high Michael Reilly can climb the CFL passing charts in 2021 and beyond. Yet camp will be an interesting time to look at the four other quarterbacks on the roster. In addition to Reilly, former REDBLACKS pivot Will Arndt provides some veteran experience. Arndt was Ottawa’s starter for the final four games of 2019 and brings some continuity for head coach Rick Campbell who worked with him in the nation’s capital.
Campbell and the offensive coaches will also get a first look at Rourke, the Victoria native who re-wrote the record books at Ohio University and led the Bobcats to three straight Bowl game wins. The other two rookies are Shea Patterson and D’Angelo Fulford. Patterson left Michigan with the seventh-highest passing yards total in program history, ahead of guys named Tom Brady and Jim Harbaugh. Fulford led Mount Union University in Ohio to a Division III NCAA title in 2017.
21- as of now, this is the total number of practices the squad will hold in camp. Some of these will be back-to-back practices on the same day. Other days will involve just one on-field session.
3- in addition to those 21 practices, the squad’s players and coaches will best simulate a live-game experience by holding three team scrimmages. These will take place on the first two full Saturdays at Hillside Stadium on July 17th and 24th with one final scrimmage on Thursday, July 29th before camp breaks. With no pre-season contests in 2021, these will be extra important when it comes to evaluation and figuring out how the final roster might look.
11- this will be the 11th consecutive Lions camp taking place on the beautiful campus of Thompson Rivers University, the current run starting in 2010. The club has held camp in Kamloops on many other occasions in the past, the most recent year before that coming in 2004. We can’t wait to get back to the best camp setting in the CFL, if not pro football.
And Now For a Couple Fun Ones
480- the total number of cans of Gatorade that will be shipped up for training camp. 40 skids, times 12 cans each! Hey, the players need their electrolytes.
90- approximate boxes of tape that will be on hand, those coming in a few different varities.
Click HERE for more info on 2021 BC Lions Training Camp presented by Sun Peaks Resort.