--Riders training camp has finally arrived. June is here! The football team like every other team in the CFL breaks camp with championship aspirations and they break camp with question marks surrounding them. Here are just a few questions I have as the team goes into 2015 and no the status of Darian Durant's elbow isn't one of them as I think he is ready to roll.
1. The team did a great job of strengthening themselves in the off-season by adding Shea Emry, Nic Demski, Kevin Glenn and Alex Hall. They are a very solid team, but while the o-line is still very formidable, they took a big hit losing Dominic Picard and Ben Heenan. Heenan may or may not be back, but Picard won't be. The battle between Dan Clark and Corey Watman to see who gets the number one job might be the best one in camp.
2. Tino Sunseri came in last year as the number 2 guy and after a less than stellar performance, he begins camp this year as the number 3 guy behind Darian and Kevin Glenn. Will he stay at number 3 or can he beat out Glenn for the backup spot? I am guessing he won't lose that number 3 spot to Brett Smith unless he really struggles or Smith really shines.
3. Who is the starting tailback? I think Anthony Allen could have a huge season----I don't think he has a Kory Sheets 2013 season, but I think he can be a huge contributor to the offence. That is if he is the starter. You have to think Jerome Messam will be ready to compete for that starters job. It could be a great 1-2 punch.
4. Alex Hall and John Chick are no doubt your ends to start the season with Tearrius George inside. The team may have realized they need a Canadian at that other d-tackle spot after thinking they could go without when Keith Shologan and Zack Evans went to Ottawa. The team drafted some Canadian defensive linemen so if one can show he is ready to be a starter, it just might happen. Put your money on Rory Connop---the son of former Eskimo great Rod Connop.
5. Chris Milo had a terrible campaign last season and he is the probably the first to admit that. I expect Milo to bounceback, but Hugh O'Neill and Denton Kolodzinski are ready to give him a challenge. How does Milo handle it?
The answers start Sunday and likely more questions will also pop up. I wish I was in Saskatoon to see it, but I will just have to do you what many of you do and that is listen to the Sportscage to get all the information needed.
--Riders GM Brendan Taman told Regina's #1 rock station--the WOLF 104.9 Wednesday morning that his football team would finish 12-6 this year. I don't argue with that, but lets say the Riders end with a record of 14-6 if you get what I am saying!
--I can't see Jim Popp using Michael Sam as a publicity stunt. The Alouettes are saying all the right things as Sam gets set to start his professional football career. I don't know if he is the same player that he was going into St. Louis Rams camp last year because he didn't impress at the veterans combine and he seemed more content on "Dancing With the Stars" then continuing to pursue his football dream, but he has a chance. I just hope the Alouettes give him a fair chance. If he gets one, he will succeed as he seems to be a guy who has the right build to be a CFL defensive lineman.
--Are the Argos going to start the season without Ricky Ray? They might be and if so, they are behind the eight ball right from the start. Like the Riders last year, the Argos don't have a capable backup. Trevor Harris will likely get the number one reps, but it will be interesting to see if Blake Sims can adapt to the Canadian style. Sims was the quarterback of the Alabama Crimson Tide who lost out in the NCAA National Championship semi-final to Ohio State. He has CFL written all over him, Can he play the Canadian game? If he can, the Argos may have found their successor to Ray.....albeit I am sure they don't want him stepping in this year.
--As I put on Twitter Monday night, I wish the Hawks/Ducks series could be a best of 11! That series has been everything hockey fans thought it would be. Its been great to watch! The East final has been OK too. In the end, I still think we are seeing an original 6 matchup in the final which of course means it will be Anaheim vs Tampa.
--If the Ducks were to win the Stanley Cup, I wonder if the Shooting Stars Foundation could convince Ryan Getzlaf to be a part of Sticks on Rose and could he bring a certain something with him. Imagine playing for that on a nice weekday afternoon in downtown Regina.
--Lebron James vs Steph Curry in the NBA Finals. Bring it on!
--What the hell has happened to Genie Bouchard?
--Jon Ryan did his thing on American Ninja Warrior this week and all was fine. It would have been disastrous though had the Seahawks punter and Regina native suffered some sort of injury with training camp right around the corner. I think it is safe to say no NFL punter is getting more notoriety than the hometown guy. I also think it is safe to say he had the Seahawks blessing to do this otherwise it wouldn't have happened. His golf tournament basically sold out as soon as it was announced and tickets for Wednesday Night Live featuring his fiance--comedian Sarah Colonna along with Gord Bamford and the Trews are selling well from what I hear. It is great to see Jon give back to the community.
--Happy 50th birthday to my Locker Talk co-host Pete Paczko. Tell me what I'm in for Pete although sadly I think I already know. Ladies, he drives a Lexus and he's single!!
--Another WMBL season starts tonight as the Regina Red Sox welcome the Weyburn Beavers. The baseball season is too short so get out there and support this team when you can. It is good ball and if you haven't been out to watch, go check it out. Hope to see you either tonight or tomorrow.