5 Quick Hits on Day 14 of Blue Bombers training camp:
1. AN OFFICIAL VISIT: CFL officials were in attendance Saturday morning and did their thing in various periods, including 12 on 12. They also worked the field-goal segment of practice.
Asked if their presence was something they had asked for or if it was a request of the team, head coach Mike O’Shea quipped: “They were lousy today, so they needed it. That’s not going to get me any calls, is it?”
But, seriously, folks…
“We do this every year,”O’Shea said. “I love having them out, it’s great interaction… you get a lot of coaches asking them questions, although with COVID protocols it’s a little different. In previous years we would host little mini-meetings with whatever position group and they would answer questions based on the position group. You want them giving feedback to the players. You want the coaches to be able to have access to them.
“I think it was great to have them out. It certainly sharpens us up and I spend a lot of time bending their ear about plays, calls and whatnot. They’re a proud group, too, and they want to make sure they’re sharp for the start of the season with no exhibition games. They’re out here working hard or taking time off work to make sure they get their plays in, too.”
2. PROGRESS REPORT — THE KICKERS: Both Marc Liegghio and Tyler Crapigna had excellent days in the field-goal department, with each ending that portion of practice by nailing 52-yarders. Theirs is a back-or-white, hit-or-miss livelihood, so a hat tip when they have good days.
Asked if they seemed to be settling in and getting more comfortable, O’Shea said: “Absolutely. They’re dealing with new operations — new snappers, new holders — and all the stuff they’re dealing with; with Tyler it was the travel and sitting in a hotel for a day. On Day 2 Marc was eight of nine and from that point forward he’s been just excellent. Both of them have found their groove, so it’s nice to see.”
3. BIG IN JAPAN: LB Les Maruo, the Bombers first pick in the 2021 CFL Global Draft has been making a solid impression in camp.
“He’s a good football player. It’s exciting to watch him,” said O’Shea. “He flies around, there was a nice play he made today and every practice he’s doing something good that catches your eye. I’m sure he’s not satisfied, but he should be happy with the way it looks. He’s doing well.”
We told you a bit about Maruo earlier in camp. That story is here:
On Saturday he spoke about the CFL’s Global initiative.
“It’s big. It’s big for me, but it’s really big for a country like Japan because the X League is just getting bigger and bigger every year and not many people know about football in Japan,” he said. “I would love to go out there and play and perform my best in the CFL so that football in Japan will get bigger and bigger and all the Japanese fans can look up to me and maybe there will be more and more Global players from Japan.”
Maruo, FYI, is one of five Global players in Bombers camp along with DL Thiadric Hansen (Germany), DB Sergio Schiaffino-Perez (Mexico), Ayo Oyelola (United Kingdom) and OL Tomoya Machino (Japan). Maruo was born in Japan but essentially grew up in the U.S. He is currently a roommate of Machino — who he first met at the CFL Global Combine in Osaka — and said the big O-lineman’s English is improving every day.
4. REMEMBER WHEN?: O’Shea was asked about how camps have changed over the years, with less padded practices and two-a-day sessions.
“My first two training camps were double (twice a day), padded on turf in Hamilton right beside Stelco,” he said. “So, we were going and it was smokey every day and you were banging. The science behind it shows that rest period between practices is as valuable as the rest period in between the end of your day and the start of the next day.
“There’s way more research that shows the benefit of working a little longer in a condensed time frame than giving them more time to recuperate.”
5. OUCH REPORT: The list of walking wounded is still long, but CB Mike Jones did return to work a bit in the early part of the session. WR Cam Meredith was spotted doing laps during the practice and O’Shea said he could be back at work soon.
Meanwhile, RB Andrew Harris had his day end early and he showed a bit of frustration with his recovery. Asked about that afterward, O’Shea offered this: “That’s the process he’s going through. He’s going to go through a bit of frustration. I know he wants to be out there and we’re not letting him go full go yet. When he finally gets to play he’ll be less frustrated, I’m sure.”
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