Sunday, 31 May 2015

A Look Into Day 1

To be honest, I thought the live practise today went exactly the way it should have gone considering all the different moving parts that exist right now for the 2015 Saskatchewan Roughriders.  Things were very slow and uncertain at times, with plenty of plays being left out there on the field, and a smattering of substitution lapses amongst the personnel groupings on both sides of the ball.  One could tell right from when the team got moving with their stretch period that the guys had a lot on their minds, because it was oddly quiet for the first day out.

If there was a word of the day today, it would have been ‘LEARNING’ and that’s perfectly fine, it’s what this team is going to need to do, and quickly.  There’s so many new faces and different positions that need to be addressed, that this team was never going to fire out of the gate and look like unstoppable on DAY 1.  As long as the coaching staff doesn’t allow the guys to be satisfied with the seemingly slow start, and the veterans in the individual position groups demand improvement on every rep from the new guys and themselves, things will start to fall into place fairly quickly.  


The greatest tool the guys have right now, is the fact that they’ve got a whole practise worth of film to analyze and correct the things that need to be corrected.  I can’t tell you guys enough about how important mental repetition and visualization is in professional football.  The guys have to learn quickly, because installation doesn’t stall because guys need to figure things out.  The old adage goes, “If you can’t get it, then we gotta find someone that will.”  


Day 2 will be better, it has to be, and one of Coach Chamblins many strengths is the way he is able to get guys going during challenging spots.  


Here’s some things of note regarding todays events:


Doubles took a ton of reps, more than I’ve seen him take in a camp, it was great.  With an entirely new way of doing things, the Franchise needs to see every possible scenario, check down, audible and protection scheme that he has at his disposal.


While we’re on the offense, I felt like people expected a lot more fireworks today, and that wasn’t a fair ask.  The WRs, RBs, and QBs are going to take a couple days to really get in sync with each other.  Tonight’s film session will be encouraging for them.  It will excite them to see the potential that some of the plays the missed actually had.  It is clear that this is going to be a fun offense to watch.  Just be patient Ridernationbecause it will be explosive when they get on the same page.  I guarantee it.


I really liked the way the two new OT’s (68-Michael Phillips and 59-Randy Richards) went about their business.  Phillips looked explosive while run blocking but also stayed on his track and showed good footwork.  Athletic guy too.  Randy Richards showed some sound pass pro technique.  He’s quick with his arms and hands, punching and reloading nicely so as not to give defenders things to wrestle with.  Did well against John Chick a couple of times during team and 1 on 1 pass rush drills. 


Speaking of OT’s, Levy Adcock seems to have shed some pounds and I think that will work well in his favour.  He really impressed a lot of people last year, so hopefully he can build on that.


Angus Reid is an amazing addition to camp this year!  He’s going to be huge in the development of Dan Clark at Centre.  Reid had the same type of size and arm length when he played as Dan does now, and the two are probably on the same shelf when it comes to athleticism.  There’s nobody better to teach Clark how to use his physical attributes while anchoring the Oline and typically playing against guys that are bigger than him.


#13 Clark who is listed as a DB looked legit.  Really impressive athletically and looks like he could be used in a number of places on in that defensive backfield.  Another newcomer that caught my attention was Drew Doughty from Utah State.  He’s a bit bigger than Brian Peters was but definitely didn’t look out of place when he was lining up at the LB spot.


I have a feeling Nate Webster is going to have a great camp.  He was being rotated in with the 1s and 2s this afternoon, and looked like he did a lot more during his reps than Keenan McDougall did while out there. 


Dylan Ainsworth also had a good day.  I think Mike Sinclair is going to do wonders for #90 because he’s so good with his hands as he demonstrated a few times during 1 on 1 pass rush.  You can tell he’s beginning to get it during team competition as well.  He adjusted to the read option nicely today, and without the hesitation of a 1st year guy.  His play forced a couple of early throws.  If he can put together a consistent camp, he may be in line for 15-20 reps pre game.  In talking with Coach Dyce a couple of weeks ago about him, he is going to be expected to be a leader on special teams this year as well.  Lots of opportunity on the horizon for the Western Alum


Those new coverage rules?  Didn’t seem like a problem to our first string DBs.  Actually if there was a group that had the best day it was probably them.  Their enthusiasm really picks up the rest of that defense, and they’ll need to be vocal all year.


That’s really all I can tell you for today folks.  It’s tough to gauge performance when the pads aren’t on.  But that will come.  


We’ll start zeroing in on specific position groups tomorrow, I haven’t decided on who quite yet, but I’ll let you know as soon as I do.


I’ll get to all your questions that you sent me via twitter (@lucmull95) and post the answers tomorrow AM.

Thanks for visiting #Properspective

Welcome Back...

wish I could accurately describe the feelings and emotions that shoot through a guy as the clock dwindles down to the first FULL team meeting on the eve of Day 1...


There’s a ton of descriptive phrases and words that I could throw out, but I think that the most appropriate for the myriad of options that I have would be to sum up the beginning of one’s new journey with this…




By now a selected few have gotten their TSN promo shots out of the way and the equipment guys are already close to being overworked.  They’re sick of the sound that buckling a chin strap makes, and if one more wide receiver complains about the fit of their new shoulder pads, nobody will get the new camp tees that are supposed to be laid out!!!  #FreeTeamGear


Packing one’s bags for the trek to training camp was a lot more annoying than expected due to the overwhelming presence of uncertainty, but those contents that did make the trip are now unpacked in order of importance.  Practice accessories, toothbrush, flip flops and shorts that you’ll probably wear for the ENTIRE stay...


I once was told by a coach that he could always tell the pretenders by the way they came to meetings during camp, “If they ass was always dressed up, wearing a different pair of J’s to every dam meeting, they’d be the first ones getting cut…too worried about the wrong thing.”

I never tested that theory but I’m sure it’s valid.


Anyway…Stewing in your room is never healthy, so one last look at the schedule that was given out upon arriving at the hotel or dorm room, and it’s off to find the main meeting auditorium.


Nobody wants to be the dummy that arrives late and is forced to interrupt the beginning of the 1st meeting.  If you are THAT GUY, the loudest noise you could ever make in your life is nothing compared to having to open that door and interrupt either the head coach or a GM.  That feeling is worse than any college sorority walk-of-shame, cause you can literally feel everyone in the room judging you and saying “see-ya.”  *If you’re early, you’re on time…If you’re on time, you’re LATE*


For established vets, it’s great to see some of the boys again; sure there are some cats that you could go another couple weeks without, however, even those guys bring a smile to your face and get some love because they’re someone you’ve gone to battle with and have sacrificed for.  

There’s always changes during the off season, so any familiar face is a welcome sight.  

It’s also a chance to size up any competition that the staff may have brought in for you, whether it be through trade, free agency, or the CFL draft.  


It’s always funny introducing yourself to a guy that plays the exact same position as you,

“Hey man, I’m ____________ nice to meet you.  How was your off season?” 

*automatically flexes all muscles possible* #DontAskMeForAnyHelp #JustKiddingSorta


There's another side of the coin to this...Not everyone is an established vet.

Throughout the crowd you can always spot the rookies that are trying to figure out where they belong, and how they`re going to navigate their way through this whole deal.  They’re either tied to the hip of another newcomer, or sticking to themselves with headphones in, trying to act inconspicuous until they can find the first available seat in the meeting room and just blend it.  You'll also note the vice-grip hold that they have on their playbook. #YourNewBible

For those newbies, Its one thing to work out all off-season with the goal being to make the team.  But once that team is in front of you and the competition is right around the corner, the nerves start to talk a lot more than your personal best in the squat rack. 


To make matters worse, the “International” rookies have been hearing about this thing called the ratio” and you can see some of them doing the math in their heads.  No matter how many times it’s been explained to them, the end result always sounds like they’ve got to climb Mount Everest with a toothpick, just to make the dang practice roster!  Up until this point, the only CFL snaps most of them have watched is during November when Chris Berman informs ESPN watchers of who just won the Grey Cup.  Mix a brand new game, with another reason it sucks to have an American passport anywhere other than America, and it one quickly realizes that the need to make big plays is now multiplied by 1000.


Canadian draftees don’t have the ratio hanging over their head but are by no means sitting pretty.  The ones lucky enough to be drafted higher always have to go through the “BIIIIG MONNEEY” calls and the false insinuation that they are the chosen ones. 

It probably does a guy good to go through some sort of ribbing though.  In the morning, the pads get thrown on, and the competition gets fierce.  It’s probably calming to feel like you fit in for the time being.


Realistically, there are tons of different scenarios that we won’t get into at this time.  Some know that the first team meeting signals the start of the last season they’ll ever be a part of.  Others know that they may not make it out of camp without putting together an incredible campaign.  Some situations are laced with opportunity, others aren't. It's what you signed up for.

But that’s the greatest part about the start of training camp and the prospects of being a professional athlete in general.

The winding roads that you get to travel are full of both adverse moments and remarkable benchmarks.  

The highs and lows of competition are as addicting as heroine.  You spend months pushing your body to the limits in order to be ready for Day 1, and the first official team meeting is the signal that you’ve arrived.  You’ve got a ton of emotion that you’re bringing with you...But at least you’re there...on the doorstep of being able to do what you were born to do…COMPETE…FINALLY.


We'll be covering the Riders camp all week...Don't be afraid to ask all the questions that come to mind. We'll answer them as we go along.

Talk soon.