May 6, 2016

Mini Camp Recap

Mini-camp concluded this morning and I must say, we are damn excited. The tempo of the three-day offensive mini camp was high, and the talent on the field was impressive. Driving to a team photo shoot yesterday, quarterback Drew Willy gushed about what he’s seen throughout the camp, including the post-practice offensive meetings (receivers and quarterbacks) Drew ran in the main team meeting room that went well into the late afternoon.

IMG_5585Andrew Harris is exactly what we all know him to be – a damn good football player. He was vocal on the field, even helping rookie receivers on some things he’d notice. But to me, the two who stood out the most are two of the newest Bombers – receivers Weston Dressler and Ryan Smith. I’ll tell you one thing; it’s no wonder Rider fans loved these guys. Although both are relatively quiet in their day-to-day business, they ooze professionalism and simply do things the right way. Being good friends probably helps, but as Coach O’Shea told me over breakfast this morning, “Ryan Smith is the type of player where you better be excellent going with him or against him, because if not, you’ll get left behind.”

IMG_8016They’re competitors. For example; prior to dinner last night, it was decided out of curiosity to look up their fastest times while playing at colleges in North Dakota (their speed and quickness had really impressed over the first two days). They’re close – and fast. So as everyone congregated for dinner last night, Coach O’Shea came up and said to them with a smile, “we were just looking up your times from college to see how fast you guys were. You two were-“ and before he could finish the sentence, both of them interjected, “what do you mean were??!!” The joking exchange that followed showed their competitive fire not only with each other, but with anyone on the field. As Coach said this morning, “it was almost like they wanted to race right there. Race ME. It was awesome.”

“I believe there’s one way to play football, and that’s all out. You don’t save yourself. And that’s the kind of players they are. They don’t know anything but maximum effort, and that’s in their offseason, their practice, in their preparation. You see all this very quickly with those two. It’s inspiring.”

It was only three days, but General Manager Kyle Walters summarized it well as he watched the final day of mini camp from the end zone seating; “the camp really proved beneficial in terms of what we were looking for. Come main camp, our offence will now be in full stride for the most part, and that will give Paul and his group a running start on the season. I was impressed on many levels, and now we just have to build on this moving into next month.”

Rookie camp opens May 25th at Investors Group Field, and main training camp kicks off May 29th. Come see the new and returning talent for yourself, as all practices will once again be open to the public.