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Tuesday, June 7, 2016


SASKATOON -- The Saskatchewan Roughriders are well into Week 2 of 2016 Training Camp presented by Coors Light.  They held their Monday morning workout at SMF Field, and will remain there for the next couple of days.  Here are some notes from the Bridge City:

1 - After a light workout on Sunday, the team picked up the pace on Day 9 at the home of the Hilltops.

"Yeah it was a good-spirited practice today," said Head Coach & GM Chris Jones.  "I thought the guys came out and practiced with a purpose.  We as coaches have to bring our A game everyday and about midway we had to talk about it a little bit.  But I thought practice went real well."

2 - The Riders announced the release of four players early Monday morning (details are in a post below) and added three more including former Alabama and Arizona Cardinals quarterback Philip Sims.  With the release of rookie pivot Jacob Huesman, that means there are still five quarterbacks in camp.

"I spoke with (Cardinals coach) Bruce Arians last week about (Sims) and he's a guy that's been on our radar for quite some time," Jones mentioned.  "Bruce said he's very intelligent and has a live arm.  Freddy Kitchen really liked him.  He's the QB coach down there and he was with me at Alabama.  The kid's got a live arm and he's tremendously intelligent according to Bruce and that's saying something because Bruce doesn't compliment anybody!  I'm looking forward to seeing exactly what he brings to our football team."

For more on Sims, check out this online report from his alma mater:

3 - The list of injured - or not participating - players is starting to become as long as your arm.  However we're almost reluctant to ask Coach Jones if it's becoming a concern because he's said on multiple occasions that injuries don't phase him.  At this point, it's giving other players opportunities to shine.  However if injuries like the ones bothering Jeff Knox Jr. and Justin Capicciotti extend past training camp, perhaps it'll be worth asking at that time.

4 - The temperature will rise into the 30-degree range for this week's workouts in the Bridge City before the club returns home on Saturday to host the B.C. Lions in preseason action at 7:00 pm at Mosaic Stadium (TSN, CKRM Rider Radio Network).  So far, the rain has held off for the Riders' workouts.

I'd be flabbergasted if Saturday's exhibition game doesn't sellout however may listeners to the SportsCage on 620 CKRM on Monday wrote in that they have other plans that night.  There are two Garth Brooks shows in Saskatoon Saturday night which will draw 30,000 people plus Meatloaf is playing Moose Jaw's Mosaic Place.

My opinion?  If you want to hear those acts, pop in their CD.  This is the last-ever preseason game at Mosaic Stadium!

One listener pointed out that the game is to be televised nationally on TSN and if they're not able to watch it live, they can PVR it.

Grooooaaaan.  I still don't get it, but plus forgive me.  The Saskatchewan Roughriders are my life.  Any chance to watch them play live is a blessing.

- Don't forget the Riders will return to Saskatoon following Saturday's game and continue training camp here all of next week before their exhibition road game at Edmonton on Saturday, June 18.  It makes sense that the club will maintain its headquarters here in Saskatoon.  Imagine the logistical nightmare associated with transporting all these players to new living quarters and subsequent transportation around the Queen City.  The Riders are getting it done in one three-week shot.

- Kudos to former Roughriders head scout Craig Smith who's landed a job as Receivers Coach at SFU on the Kelly Bates staff.  Craig's one of the good ones.

So too is new Rider scout Vic Poma who covers Nevada, Arizona and Utah out of Las Vegas.  He arrived in camp on Monday and I always enjoy our visits.

7 - The news that the Roughriders lost $4.3-million dollars in 2015 has been a discussion point, although we steered clear of it on the radio on Monday.  Nice work by the Leader Post's Murray McCormick to cover the story.  Somebody asked how the big loss reflects on the Riders.  I'd say, not too poorly.  The club was 3-15 last year and it was a disaster from the get-go.  With all the costs associated with the new stadium plus the Legacy Program, it's been a lot to bite off.

The onus now is to only look ahead because the future is amazing in both the short-term and long-term.  The sooner we can bury 2015, the better.

Hosting Huddle with Darren Dupont
8 - The season premiere episode of In The Huddle airs Tuesday evening province-wide on Access 7 at 7:00 pm.  Saskatoon broadcaster Darren Dupont will co-host with me and we'll tell all the stories of Week 1, and feature players Levi Steinhauer, S.J. Haidara, Shawn Lemon, Nic Demski, Darian Durant and John Chiles.  There's even a cameo appearance by football maven John Lynch. Please tune in!

9 - The 2016 NLL champion Saskatoon Rush will hold a champion's rally at 11:30 am on Tuesday at the Bessborough Gardens featuring three players from the triumphant squad.  I wondered why they weren't staging a parade but Luc guessed it's because most players have already left the city.  Either way it's going to be a bang-up event, and it would be nice to be there however Rider duty calls.

10 - And you have to continually hand it to the Rush marketing department.  At a season-opening news conference in January, the club handed out a pair of season tickets to every reporter in attendance.  It was a surprise gesture and if you weren't there, you were S.O.L.  So throughout the season the media had the opportunity to take a friend to the game or act like a big shot and hand those tickets out.  What a genius ploy!  It's one of the many things that helped the Rush take this city, and province, by storm in its inaugural season here.



The following is the Day 9 report from the 2016 Roughrider Training Camp presented by Coors Light courtesy Roughriders PR staff.


Add to the Roster:
International offensive lineman Marcus Hall (#51 – 6.05/305 – Ohio State)
International quarterback Phillip Sims (#19 – 6.01/230 – Winston Salem State)
International receiver Devrin Young (#87 – 5.08/175 – Tennessee)

Delete From Roster:
International receiver Marcus Davis
National linebacker Marvin Golding
International quarterback Jacob Huesman
International receiver Alec Lemon

Did not participate:
Tim Agbaje (day-to-day)
Dylan Ainsworth (day-to-day)
Justin Capicciotti (day-to-day)
Johnny Dixon (day-to-day)
Matt Knight (day-to-day)
Jeff Knox Jr. (day-to-day)
Brendon LaBatte (day-to-day)
Graig Newman (day-to-day)
Eric Norwood (injured)
Alex Ogbongbemiga (day-to-day)
Matt Vonk (6 game injured list)
Matt Walter (day-to-day)

Players and coaches will be back at SMF Field at Gordie Howe Park for practice tomorrow. Tuesday’s Day 10 workout will run from 9AM to approximately 11:00AM.