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June 2, 2019

Notes from Camp | Day 14 Recap

The Bombers were back on the field Sunday morning in the wake of Friday’s preseason win over the Edmonton Eskimos and with this week’s visit to Saskatchewan now on the horizon. Here are our daily collection of notes and quotes from Sunday’s session…


A STANDARD SET AND MET:

There will changes along the Bombers offensive line in 2019, that much was a given dating back to the winter with the retirement of Matthias Goossen and Sukh Chungh’s departure to the B.C. Lions.

Still, even with two-fifths of the unit soon to feature new faces, this crew will be charged with upholding a standard set by one of the Canadian Football League’s best units over the last three seasons.

“There’s going to be some turnover. I’m excited for the new guys we’ve got coming in,” said right tackle Jermarcus Hardrick, who did not play against the Eskimos, but was back on the practice field on Sunday. “It’ll be the same mentality and still the same great coaches so I’m excited.

“It’s smash-mouth football, put it on my back and try and lead us as far as we can. We’ve got a great leader at quarterback, we’ve got great guys all over, we’ve just got keep 15 (Matt Nichols) up.”

The Bombers rotated a number of O-linemen into the fray against the Eskimos. For what it’s worth, the team started Delroy Baker Jr. and Jamar McGloster at tackle, Drew Desjarlais and Geoff Gray at guard and Michael Couture at centre.

At Sunday’s practice the O-line featured Hardrick and Stanley Bryant at tackle, with Gray and Speller at guard and Couture at centre – although the bodies continued to be rotated in and out throughout the session

“There are still a lot of pieces yet to be determined, but I thought the O-line played pretty well. I really did,” said head coach Mike O’Shea when assessing the group. “I thought they came together. It’s interesting, you see them practise and you wonder how it’s going to shape up and then – and I should know this from years past – but come game time they gel and they battle and it’s probably something you just can’t see in practice.”

Hardrick, who joined the club in 2016 and became an instant fan favourite with his ‘Hardrick Hop’ into the stands after a touchdown and his overall enthusiasm, offered the same assessment of his compadres as O’Shea.

“I saw a lot of guys getting better. I saw a lot of guys being physical. I saw a lot of guys trying to live up to the standard we created over the last three years,” he said. “So, it was very encouraging to watch on the tape after the game. From the sidelines I saw guys catching bodies, I saw guys keeping the quarterback up. It’s still preseason and things happen… I’m excited.

“When I first got here I was still walking on eggshells and I didn’t know a lot. Bob Wylie was still here and I didn’t know what to think. But I had a great coach and we were trying to find our identity and just over the last few years we found that from playing and through just being with each other, just through love and family. That’s basically what it is, a lot of love and family and guys coming to work every day. No matter the faces in there we still have the same great coaches and we’ll keep it the same.”

UNDER THE RADAR:

Training camp can be as much a war of attrition as anything. And as evidence, we give you cornerback Amari Coleman, who quietly moved up the depth chart and has been working with the starting defence with Winston Rose, Chris Humes and Marcus Rios all injured.

“Staying healthy is a huge part of it. Like they say, ‘health is wealth’,” said Coleman Sunday. “(The game) went pretty well. It’s nice getting out there and having some live action instead of just practice. It was a really good experience.

“I’m just learning as it goes; every day I’m trying to work at it and get better. It’s a new experience, but it’s one I’m looking forward to.”

Coleman had NFL looks from Detroit and Tampa last year and was Central Michigan’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2016.

FYI:

Cut-down day for all CFL teams is this coming Saturday. O’Shea was asked if there might be moves before the weekend and said: “We’ll see. We’ll be talking personnel every day this week, but we’ll see where that plan takes us.”… Even though he didn’t dress on Friday, Jermarcus Hardrick did his usual post-TD thing by picking up Dylan Schrot after the hometown product scored the only major Friday night. “I’m just happy for my teammate, no matter who it was,” said Hardrick. “You know me, I love to celebrate a teammate, I love to get in the end zone and I’m just excited for a kid who played here and got a chance to score. I loved it, man. He’s been a guy that comes in, works hard and doesn’t say a lot. For him to get that touchdown in his hometown was great.”