AGAINST ALL ODDS: Part 2: A warm welcome and a cold beer

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“He gave me the OK,” Collaros said. “And I just dove into the playbook.”

Teammates quickly realized their new quarterback’s head was one of his best assets.

“The very first day I met Zach Collaros, he pointed me out,” defensive back Brandon Alexander remembered. “He’s like, ‘You’re No. 37?’ Yeah, I am. He was like, ‘Hey, how did you know we were running double-digs on our side?’”

It was a reference to a game and a type of offensive play from when Collaros was with the Riders, facing the Bomber defence.

Alexander told him the Riders telegraphed the play, because they only ran it out of a specific formation.

“He was like, ‘Oh, so you watch film.’ I was like, ‘Yes I do,’” Alexander said. “From that point, we had a mutual respect for each other.”

Others saw it, too: a willingness to put in the work, the extra hours studying film.

“You got that vibe right away,” linebacker Adam Bighill said.

“He didn’t step on toes,” is how offensive lineman Jermarcus Hardrick put it. “He was the quiet guy, showing up early and staying late, making sure he had everything in order so when his time came, he was ready.”

And doing it in a way that didn’t ruffle the starter’s feathers.

Streveler says Collaros fit like a passer’s glove into what the incumbent quarterbacks called “the 5 a.m. club,” a routine started by Nichols.

“Zach wanted to fit in, too, so he came in right away and was part of that for a little bit as well,” Streveler said.

For a little bit?

“After that he was, like, ‘Man, this is too early,’” Streveler said, laughing. “And he’s a vet. Alright, I respect that. I get it.”

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