Realty One

Titan Auto

Sunday, April 17, 2016


By: Curtis Mullen

On a windy overcast day in Kansas City, Missouri the Saskatchewan Roughriders - led by VP of Football Operations, GM & Head Coach Chris Jones - held a free agent camp on Sunday. Assisting the head coach was Riders' regional scout Alphonso Hodge along with two coaches from Avila College.

Over 25 players paid $ 100 each as they continued to chase the dream of playing professional football.  Registration started by 9:15, once that was complete each player was tested in four separate areas: 40 yard dash, shuttle, broad jump and vertical jump. After the testing the head coach went through what the players could expect if they made a CFL roster.  He emphasized the speed of the game along with the small roster sizes.

Once testing was complete, players from each position were put through a series of change of direction drills. These drills are important as players had the opportunity to show the coaches how well they could change direction while keeping their eyes focused on the head coach.  The next stage was a series of drills that allowed the offensive and defensive skill players to focus on specific routes or coverages. Once the skill players had some routes and coverages taught to them, it was time for some one-on-one action.

The offensive skill players were lining up against their defensive counterparts.  Once every player had been through several rotations, the offensive and defensive lineman were provided an opportunity to show what they could do. As there were no helmets and pads, power rushes were not allowed.  After the lineman had completed their one-on-ones for the first time, the coach said that was the end of the first quarter.  The players then completed the one-on-ones three more times to try and simulate a game.

After the one-on-ones were complete, the head coach asked for return specialists to stick around as the long snapper and punter went through their drills.

Throughout the course of the day, Coach Jones was focused on running each drill with purpose and speed.  He wanted to make sure everything was done in a timely fashion.  During the entire day, Coach Jones did not use a whistle; he just had command of the entire process.

Once all the drills were complete, the coach gathered all of the players together to tell them that he personally had enjoyed the day with them. He them advised them of some things they would need to get in order, in case they were called by the Riders.  This included making sure that each of them had a valid passport. Additionally, he mentioned that just because they did not receive a call today did not mean that they were not good ball players; it just meant that he did not see something on that day.  Coach Jones stressed that each of them should continue to improve on their conditioning while continuing to chase the dream.