One of the tougher tasks to accomplish during CFL Training Camp is getting a team’s energy level, and focus, back up to where it previously was after the 1st exhibition game of the year. The first full practise usually takes place after the initial round of cuts have been made and if coaches and players aren’t careful, a team risks hitting the field and simply “going through the motions.”
“Going through the motions” is something that the 2016 Saskatchewan Roughriders cannot afford to do. Considering the current make-up of the team and the amount of evaluations that still need to take place the Green and White needed to come out on Day 16 and re-establish its competitive sense of urgency.
It comes as no surprise that the coaching staff once again played a key role in setting the bar of expectations.
Throughout Individual Drills and Special Teams periods, no players were afforded the chance to operate at a pedestrian level, and Chris Jones had a keen eye on everything making sure that there was no “brother-in-lawing” going on.
For those who don’t know what the term “brother-in-lawing” is, it is the act of doing a drill against another player where both guys make it look like they’re giving great effort when they’re really just fitting up and gearing down. Usually on teams it's the established VETs that sneak in a couple of “brother-in-law” reps in, but again, this team can ill afford to have players, ESPECIALLY vets simply going through the motions trying to get through practise.
There’s already going to be enough obstacles in the 2016 Roughriders journey this season, there’s no need for the Riders to create their own by negating their competitive foundation.
As we’ve all gone through camp doing write-ups of what each day’s been like, you’ll recall that there have been a few days during Training Camp where we’ve highlighted important turning points in Saskatchewan’s 2016 campaign.
Today we can highlight another one…
The players really took ownership on Day 16. As much as the coaches demanded focus and attitude, the players held each other accountable even more. This morning nobody waited for the coaches to get guys lined up. Onlookers could hear the guys in uniform taking control of things like the administrative aspects of drills AND the tempo at which those drills were to be carried out.
It was nice to see players demanding the competitive level needed during this crucial phase of camp. Things may be winding down here in Saskatoon but all that means is that the opportunities to make this football team are dwindling for some of these hopefuls.
With guys beginning to get more vocal and demanding the best out of each athlete on the field it shows that there are leaders slowly but surely emerging in this locker room. At the very least it exemplifies that there are player’s in the locker room right now that are beginning to “get it.” They understand what this competitive culture that is being installed is all about.
Football is the ultimate team sport. An organization can have all the individual talent in the world but if that talent isn’t operating with one goal and one mindset then it’ll be a looong year, and not in the good way.
Now that the guys that are actually strapping on the helmets are starting to hold each other accountable this team can continue to grow. Today was another crucial step in the right direction.
Nobody was allowed to go through the motions, and it wasn’t just the coaches doing the preaching.
It was a short and quick practise today that included a Special Teams emphasis so there isn’t a whole lot that I jotted down. Here it is anyway for your water cooler football conversations. This 2nd Exhibition Game is going to go as quickly as it comes…THEN WE’LL BE ROLLING FOR REAL!!!