May 21, 2023

Quick Hits | Training Camp – Day 8

Notes and quotes from Sunday, May 21st — Day 8 of Blue Bombers training camp….

ZACH’S BACK: Zach Collaros returned to practice on Sunday after missing the last two days. He had returned home to Stuebenville after the passing of his grandmother Frankie Zanetos Collaros. She was 93.

“Big Bombers fan and one of my biggest fans for my entire life,” Collaros said after practice. “It was definitely tough. She was looking forward to the season. A saint of a woman. I’m fortunate that Osh (head coach Mike O’Shea) and everybody was so understanding to allow me to be home with my family.”

Dru Brown had been working as QB1 in the absence of Collaros, with Tyrrell Pigrome and Josh Jones also getting more reps behind centre.

“When he got those reps he really took command,” said O’Shea of Brown. “He was running practice that day, which was good to see.”

FIRST TAKE: The Blue Bombers are now officially one week into training camp and here is Coach O’Shea’s big-picture assessment of what he’s seen.

“So far the guys have been pretty disciplined,” he said. “Pretty clean in that regard… the chest and triceps aren’t super sore from doing push-ups all the time (a requirement after an offside or prodecure penalty), so that’s a good thing. “There’s a natural progression in camp where guys get to the point where they’re a little tired. We hit that and backed off a little bit, as planned. A lot of the guys showed up in pretty darn good shape and seem to be happy about being on the field playing football. It’s been a relatively normal camp.”

FYI: The list of players who did not practice Sunday — a day bolstered by new season-ticket members watching —  including Mike Miller, Winston Rose, Jackson Jeffcoat, Brady Oliveira, Adam Bighill, Tui Eli, Drew Wolitarsky, Greg McCrae and Jonathan Rosery. The absences of Oliveira, McCrae and Rosery partly explains why the club has added two running backs in the last week in Kevon Latulas and Jordan Salima.

“Everything has a domino, right?” O’Shea said. “Any time a guy goes down the other guys start getting more reps and then we put them into a position where they get tired too quick and there’s more risk of injury. People should understand that — we bring guys in, there’s a group of guys on a list that our scouting department puts together that we want to see and for the most part all these guys are part of that list, or guys we’ve been in contact with. All these guys that come in can play and when players get injured it opens up opportunities for other people. You certainly don’t want to keep taking bodies out of the system without replenishing them because the guys that in there grinding it out, you’re putting them at risk, too.”

O’Shea didn’t seem concerned about Oliveira, stating, “He’ll be out as long as he needs. It’s a long season, so (missing) this part, we’re OK with.” Asked a similar status question about Rose, he added, “he’ll be ready when he’s ready.”

NEXT: The Blue Bombers practice Monday at IG Field from 8:30-11:40 a.m. All practices are open to the public.