Realty One

Monday, May 30, 2016



SASKATOON, SK -- The Saskatchewan Roughriders opened 2016 Training Camp presented by Coors Light on Sunday, May 29 in Saskatoon.  Here is a notebook of items from Day 1:

1 - Players, coaches and fans received a mild sunburn Sunday at Griffiths Stadium.  (At least I did). The back-to-back two-a-day workouts were staged between 9:00 am and noon under sunny skies with temperatures in the low 20s Celsius and nary a breath of wind.

2 - Roughly 85 players are in camp with Canada's Team.  Offensive tackle Thaddeus Coleman is the tallest player (6'8") while kicker Tyler Crapigna is the smallest (5'7").  Coleman is also the heaviest (320 lbs) while running back Qudarius Ford is the lightest (170 lbs).

The oldest player - according to the team position chart - is quarterback Darian Durant (August 19, 1982) while the youngest is wide receiver Josh Stanford (July 25, 1994)

3 - The Riders haven't announced any guest coaches per se, however I'm told J.R. Ruffin, Keith Stokes and Paul Humphries will aid in that area during training camp.

4 - The holdout of #1 overall draft pick Josaih St. John is a mild cloud hanging over training camp in Saskatoon.  Head Coach & GM Chris Jones declined to discuss the situation publicly during his media session, preferring instead to focus on the players who are in camp.

Reporter Justin Dunk reported on Sunday that St. John is content for the holdout to continue until the regular season however I get the feeling it could last much longer than that.

I'm told the agent for St. John proposed a 3-year, $400,000 deal for his client, with some of that guaranteed.  The Riders' opening offer was for 2-years at $52,000 and $53,000 but the agent balked at that.

The Riders say they're willing to negotiate however the talks are currently at an impasse.  Saskatchewan is willing to match the deal Ottawa awarded #1 overall pick Alex Mateas last season (in the neighbourhood of $82,000 annually) however right now that appears to not be good enough.

The holdout could stretch out much longer, or it could end any day.  Things like this can tend to change in a hurry.

5 - I was taken aback somewhat by the frenetic pace of the opening session.  Immediately after the stretching session, the troops were going full-speed in a team period.  I had to look real close to see if they were wearing pads (which they weren't, thus abiding by CFL rules).

6 - As far as individual performances go, I wasn't watching Sunday's workouts with a fine-toothed comb because it was only Day 1 however a few things stuck out to me:

* Thaddeus Coleman was the right tackle in the veteran offensive line group which included FULTON-LABATTE-CLARK-BEST.

* Rookie offensive lineman Aaron Picton was at centre with the second group.

* The top defensive line group featured: LEMON-WHITE-IRVIN-CAPICCIOTTI.  Veteran defensive tackle Jonathan Williams is due to arrive in Saskatoon by mid-week.

* The starting five receivers will change a lot by Week 1 however one group which included veteran Rob Bagg consisted of: BAGG-CHILES-CHAMBERS-ROOSEVELT-LANKFORD.

* Not surprisingly, the top linebacker group consists of Jeff Knox Jr.-Greg Jones-Otha Foster.

* You'll hear a lot of the term "double-barrell" in our coverage of training camp.  It means when two separate offensive groups line up back-to-back and scrimmage the ball towards opposite endzones.  They run one play after another in succession, maximizing time and reps.  It goes at a furious pace, and the coaches will get a better look at the performances later on film.

7 - There are five quarterbacks in camp: Durant, Brett Smith, B.J. Coleman, Jacob Huesman (Tennessee-Chattanooga) and Nick Bynkoski (Acadia).  It's far too early to get a ready on who's ahead of whom on the depth chart.

8 - Defensive back Kentrell Everett (Western New Mexico) was in minicamp with the Edmonton Eskimos this spring while wide receiver Ricky Collins (Texas A&M) was in minicamp with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

9 - Veteran defensive back Derrius Brooks had perhaps the most eye-popping day on defense, recording at least two interceptions.  Huesman seemed to lead the day in throwing the most picks but again, it was only Day 1.

10 - QUOTABLE:  "I mean I've never had a first day of camp be as fast as this.  This is amazing for me.  It's probably the best Day 1 I've ever had.  And I think it's only going to get faster!  I mean if this is Day 1, it can only get faster.  We can only get better.  So I'm excited to see the speed and tempo we're going with on Day 5" - Justin Capicciotti

Chris Jones reported Darian Durant feels 100% heading into camp and after the workout, Durant said he felt no ill effects of the Achilles tear which ended his season last year in Week 1.

Jones also reported DE Shawn Lemon left the workout early after experiencing some cramping.  Veteran DT Rory Connop filed his retirement papers with the CFL earlier in the week.

And veteran FB/TE Spencer Moore was absent from the workout while he attended his sister's wedding.

A look at the Riders' position chart ...

The 620 CKRM SportsCage convoy pulls into our downtown Saskatoon hotel.  Luc was mobbed by fans asking for photos upon check-in.  We'll be here for the entire three weeks of training camp, broadcasting shows Monday through Friday ...

Stopped and snapped this beauty in Chamberlain. It's now my Twitter and Facebook profile pic ..

Sunday night in Saskatoon. Colour me very happy ..


By: Gene Henley
Huesman at Rider Florida Minicamp

Former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga standout Jacob Huesman will continue his football career with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

The 6-foot-2, 228-pound quarterback, a senior in 2015, signed Saturday night after meeting with the Canadian Football League team earlier in the week.

A two-time Football Championship Subdivision All-American and three-time Southern Conference offensive player of the year, Huesman passed for 8,197 yards and 64 touchdowns while running for 4,051 yards and another 43 scores in his four seasons with the Mocs. Some of the UTC passing records he broke belonged to former McCallie School standout B.J. Coleman, who's also on the Roughriders' roster and was Huesman's predecessor at quarterback for the Mocs.

Huesman had tryouts with the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans in recent weeks after going undrafted this spring.

Saskatchewan finished 3-15 in 2015, missing the playoffs for only the second time since 2002. That led to a coaching change, with former South Pittsburg High School and UTC standout Chris Jones taking over as head coach, general manager and vice president of football operations in December. Jones coached the Edmonton Eskimos the past two seasons and led them to a Grey Cup victory last year, their CFL-record 11th championship but first since 2005.

Saskatchewan's linebacker coach, Phillip Lolley — also on Jones' Edmonton staff — was head coach at Alabama's North Jackson High School from 1988 to 1998, winning a state title during that span.

The Roughriders began training camp Sunday at the University of the Saskatchewan's Griffiths Stadium in Saskatoon.

The team's first preseason game is June 11 against the British Columbia Lions.



1 - For the first time in 40 years, the Saskatchewan Roughriders are opening training camp without head therapist Ivan Gutfriend, who retired in the off-season.  On Friday, Ivan was inducted into the Canadian Therapists Hall of Fame in Vancouver and the plaudits will continue in September when the Leader, SK product is enshrined into the Roughriders Plaza of Honor.

The above photo is one of my favourites of Ivan, from training camp in 2012 when he was attacked by then-Roughriders defensive end Odell Willis.  Jeff Armstead captured the pic.

2 - Next Saturday seems like an eternity away but it'll be a very big day here in Saskatoon.  Not only are the Roughriders holding their annual Green & White game at 5:00 at SMF Field, but the Saskatchewan Rush will be looking to clinch the NLL's Champions Cup when they host the Buffalo Bandits in Game 2 of the best-of-five league final at 7:00 pm at SaskTel Centre.

2,000 tickets remain for the game and it provides a perfect opportunity for you to catch a Rush game if you haven't already.  The Riders' controlled scrimmage and the pro lacrosse game make for a nice doubleheader.  Contact to get your tickets.  We're hoping to be able to take in both.

3 - I had the chance to listen to John Fraser's call of the final quarter of Saturday's Game 1 Rush victory in Buffalo Saturday night on 92.9 The Bull FM.  He did a real nice job.  And I watched the first three quarters on TSN2 and I'll have to amend my comments on the skill level of NLL players.  Their hands are unbelievably quick.  Lacrosse seems like a skill that would take a lifetime to master.

4 - Why are people in Saskatoon wearing "Boycott Beyonce" t-shirts?  I saw a few of them Sunday evening downtown while out for a stroll.

5 - While trying to take Rochdale Blvd straight across from Pasqua Street to Albert Street on Friday, I got caught up in a snarl of streets named Elgaard Drive, Ridgway Road, Poley Street, Jurasin Street and Narcisse Way (or something to that effect).  It was like driving in a Fantasyland of Riderville but maybe it's a little much to have them all grouped together in one neighbourhood?  Spacing them out across the entire city may have been more appropriate?

6 - The Edmonton Eskimos got their Grey Cup rings on Friday evening and kudos to Esks President Len Rhodes for designating one for play-by-play man Morley Scott.  I'm forever indebted to Jim Hopson to graciously rewarding me with a pair of Grey Cup rings from 2007 and 2013.  They're my most-cherished possessions.

7 - Social media sales are up 300% over the past year in North America.  It's the fastest-growing form of commerce in business.  I'm using it with great success and I'll show you how to monetize your social media feeds in my Pedersen Media handbook which sells for $75 (including taxes and S&H).  There are only 43 books remaining from the first printing!  Email me at

8 - ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported on the weekend that "it's only a matter of time" before the Oakland Raiders move to Las Vegas.  That would certainly throw a kink into the plans of prospective Las Vegas NHL franchise owner Bill Foley who's hoping to land an expansion team for Sin City.  However it would seem that train has already left the station and strong rumours suggest the announcement of an expansion team for Nevada will be made at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas in mid-June.

The addition of an NFL team to complement an NHL franchise in Las Vegas will make that city a sports mecca, and a prime stop on the SportsCage Marlin Travel Ultimate Sports Trip.  For now however, it looks like we could be headed to the Bay Area this December for the sixth annual trip.

9 - There is nothing - absolutely nothing - like overtime in the Memorial Cup Final.  And that happened Sunday afternoon when the London Knights prevailed 3-2 over Rouyn-Noranda at the Red Deer Centrium.  It was a treat to watch the game on Rogers Sportsnet in my hotel room and it looked like Red Deer did an absolutely fantastic job as host over those 10 days.  It had me thinking about the 1989 Memorial Cup overtime thriller between the Swift Current Broncos and Saskatoon Blades right here in the Bridge City.  Now, will Regina be the next WHL city to host the tournament?

10 - Interesting stat on the NBA Playoffs:  There have been eight 30-plus point blowouts in the playoffs this year which is an NBA record.  They're chalking it up to a statistical anomaly, and hoping that it's not a trend.

The Stanley Cup Playoffs have had their share of 3-goal plus margins of victory as well this year which have been off-putting for the TV audiences.  San Jose and Pittsburgh get going Monday night and we'll be watching with a casual interest.

Kudos, by the way, to Tom Shepherd who accurately predicted the Sharks and Penguins to meet in the Stanley Cup Final in the playoff pool of the Old Boys Club.

The following is the Day 1 report from the 2016 Roughrider Training Camp presented by Coors Light.


The Riders made numerous roster moves on the eve of 2016 training camp. Visit for the complete rundown.

Did not participate:
Jorgen Hus (suspended – personal)
Spencer Moore (personal)
Eric Norwood (injured)                     

Training camp opened with a flurry as the team officially hit the field for the first time in 2016. The tempo was high from the get-go as the coaching staff could be heard encouraging players to run to their spots and push the pace.

The first two-hour practice was followed by a 15-minute hydration break before finishing the days on field workout with another 45-minute session.    

Veteran receiver John Chiles made several catches in tight coverage for the offence while veteran defensive back Derrius Brooks had several pass breakups for the defence. 

Not to be outdone, rookie Canadians Jordan Reaves and Dillon Grondin had strong showings on day one.  

"I missed a couple of years because of injury and as hard as it is to believe, I still get really excited about training camp. When you have the game taken away from you for a moment, you appreciate how special it is and as you get older in your career it's the small things that you appreciate even more. Training camp is the beginning of new opportunities, I can feel the excitement in the locker room and I'm ready to go" Receiver Rob Bagg.

A few hundred fans strolled into the University of Saskatchewan’s Griffiths Stadium on a beautiful May morning for the Riders first on field workouts of camp. The excitement was high as fans cheered loudly following a couple of big plays.

Players and coaches will hit the practice field at Griffiths Stadium for Day 2 of training camp with back-to-back practice sessions. The players will be on the field at 9:00AM with practice running until approximately 12:15PM

 (Courtesy Rider PR)


Anonymous said...

The Riders need to purchase and insist that Coach Jones wears a Tilley Hat when outside. By the looks of his sunburn, he needs to take steps to reduce his risk of skin cancer.

Anonymous said...

Any word on any guest coaches and their resume?

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Chamberlain a one time HC of the Riders?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the player positional chart. I could find all the hopeful dbs. Looking forward to seeing who stands out in camp.

Anonymous said...

Let's be honest about it, the only camping Rod's ever done is in a sweaty tent in that big ol pasture with 30000 others out at Craven. If he were to try backcountry camping out in Waskesieu he'd be chased up a tree in a heartbeat. But that's ok, he's paid to provide these great reports for those of us who can't be up in Stoon. Great job on the podcast. I suggest simply calling it the Pedersen Podcast. You talk about building up your brand by being visible and in as many places as possible; well here's one way to do it.

Make sure you guys order up Santa Lucia pizza. It's that good.

Gunderson's Yorkton

Anonymous said...

Simply incredible reporting. Sask is so lucky to have you.

JackD83 said...

#8 why would you want to go watch 49ers and Jets play? Minnesota/Jacksonville or Arizona/miami or new Orleans/Tampa or Denver/Tennessee are much better match ups. Rod you would love Nashville too.

Anonymous said...

I don't see Levi Steinhauer on the roster sheet... Is he still recovering from his injury? I saw a couple of tweets that he was going to community events in his jersey!

Anonymous said...

San Fran in December? You better pack your rain gear!

West Coast

Anonymous said...

Loved the P Pod, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Sask is lucky to have him he's our generations' Bob Hughes or John Lynch!

Anonymous said...

Isn't 3 years time to host the Mem Cup outside of the "build a team around" Sam steel window?

Anonymous said...

Not impressed with St. John's Agent. You only get 1 chance to make a first impression - and from this first impression it is my opinion that the kid is blowing it.

Time to step up and tell the Agent to make a deal. Do well in Rider Nation and you will be set up to do well the rest of your life. Just ask the vets who have retired here.

Newt from YQR

Rod McNabb said...

Really appreciated the podcast Roddy. You covered a lot in the time you had.
Is it too obvious to call it the Rodcast?

Anonymous said...

Ask O'Donnell how he made out

Anonymous said...

So for all those out there who whine every time someone mentions the Old Boys Club, Rod just acknowledged that it does exist. End of debate.

Anonymous said...

O'Donnell made out pretty well. He won a grey cup as a starting guard for the Edmonton Eskimoes.

O'Donnell was t really a holdout. He was trying his luck in the NBA. When that didn't work out he was willing to come here but Tamon traded him to Edmonton for Greg Carr.

A starting Canadian O lineman for an American receiver who played here only a few games.


Anonymous said...

St. John hasn't played a down of CFL football and has yet to prove himself. If his agent thinks he's going to get top nut then good luck. Unless this kid has some interested parties from the NFL then he should reslize that he ain't playin for another CFL team unless the Riders trade him. Prety hard to earn a living if you ain't playin in the game.

Anonymous said...

O'Donnell wasn't really a holdout ?? He said he would never play for the Riders. That's why he was traded.

Anonymous said...

Taman said his agent called and he was ready to come to Regina and he traded him.
It's one of those things made up by the fans. Taman said himself that O'Donnell was ready to come here.
O'Donnell never said he would not play for the riders.