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Monday, May 30, 2016

STAMPEDERS COVERAGE

CALGARY (CP) - Dave Dickenson doesn't want to make any rash decisions.

Calling the shots during his first training camp as head coach of the Calgary Stampeders, Dickenson was impressed with the level of competition among players at all positions.

"The juices were flowing,'' said Dickenson, who spent the past five years as Calgary's offensive coordinator before taking over the coaching reigns from John Hufnagel this off-season. "It was a great morning. There was a lot of good to see there.''

Following the first of two practices on the opening day of main camp at McMahon Stadium on Sunday, Dickenson said he's looking forward to seeing a healthy level of competition for roster spots before he and his coaching staff even think about making any cuts.

"The main thing I think is don't make decisions off of one day,'' he said. "You've got to give them multiple, multiple reps and then see where the consistency is, see who can keep mentally focused, because as camp goes on, it's very easy to get tired and lose your focus.''

Fifth-year Stamps quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell also liked what he saw on the field from rookies and players with Canadian Football League experience alike.

"It's good to see guys going out and competing and making plays,'' said Mitchell, while adding that player turnover happens every year. "People ask are you scared and all this. No, it's exciting. We've done what we've done for the past decade for a reason. It's not because we've had the same guys in the locker-room. It's because our talent scouts and our coaches are so good at what they do at bringing guys in.

"It's always so exciting for me. I love getting out to rookie camp and watching guys. I was one of those guys. It's fun watching and saying, 'Man that guy right there, he's a good player. Give him a year and he could be a good player'.''

Newcomers will have plenty of opportunities to earn roster spots with Calgary as a result of off-season departures from running back Jon Cornish, receivers Eric Rogers and Jeff Fuller, defensive linemen Freddie Bishop III and Corey Mace, linebacker Juwan Simpson and defensive back Keon Raymond.

"I like our roster,'' said Dickenson. "I had to definitely keep my name card out so I knew who everyone was. I think we've got good size and one of our faster teams, so those two combinations are very enticing and some things that you're excited about.''

Running back Jerome Messam said he's looking forward to taking part in his first training camp with the Stampeders after being acquired from the Saskatchewan Roughriders at the 2015 CFL trade deadline.

"It's going to be good to be able to get a full training camp under my belt and be in a position to make plays,'' said Messam. "We're always going to compete. It's training camp. We're going to make each other better. I'm here fighting for my job just like anybody else and that's the way I'm going to perform.''

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