May 19, 2023


The Blue Bombers scouting department is spread out across North America for most of the year, but during training camp we all fly into Winnipeg for the month to put our heads together and help prepare the team for the coming season.

It’s a very busy month that serves as the culmination of our work on the road throughout the year, when we see the players we’ve worked tirelessly to sign battling against each other at IG Field for precious roster spots.

On an average day at Bombers training camp, I’ll wake up around 6 a.m. to check the transaction wire, answer emails, chat on the phone with my family and friends, and get ready for a very full day.

By 7:30 a.m., our trio of scouts is in our shared office attacking whatever task is at hand that morning. Some of the more common tasks include watching film of street free agents, scouting players in other CFL camps, researching current trends around the league, or auditing our own roster.

After about an hour or so working on whichever task of the day is most pressing, the scouts head out to the field to watch practice between 9 a.m. and noon depending on the day. I patrol the sideline and take notes on anything interesting that I see throughout practice in a black notebook.

Once practice is over, it’s time to head up to the suite level area to grab lunch and chat amongst the staff and players, often about things not related to football at all.

When lunch wraps up, the scouts head back downstairs to our office to watch the day’s practice film and take more notes. I enter all of our notes into spreadsheet that tracks each player’s progress. Sometimes a player will have an off day, or perhaps a player is consistently trending in a positive direction. Tracking each day specifically allows us to look at how the players are doing over time and evaluate their day-to-day progress.

At some point after lunch, either during or after watching the practice film, we learn the injury report for the day, which is hopefully positive. If there’s a rash of injuries at a particular position, that can shift our immediate focus toward finding solutions there.

Around 6 p.m., hunger sets in again and we head back upstairs to enjoy dinner. Some CFL staffers and players with other teams grumble about their mediocre food offerings in training camp, but the meals our kitchen staff provides are consistently tasty and healthy options are always available.

With dinner in the books, we head back down to try to finish our tasks of the day. Typically, we are in the office until 9 p.m. or later unless there are pressing matters forcing us to stay later. Once we head back to the hotel, things wind down pretty quickly, and I am typically in bed by 10 p.m. at the latest to get rested up for another big day.

Being away from my family and loved ones back home for nearly an entire month can be taxing, but being in Winnipeg for training camp allows me to fully embrace the football family I rarely see. The ability to learn from fellow staff members every day, help assess the players we’ve brought in, and do my small part to help build the new year’s iteration of the Blue Bombers is a truly rewarding experience.

Cyril Penn is a Blue Bombers U.S.-based scout who writes regularly for FROM THE SCOUTING TRAIL: