“I feel confident right now.”
Those were the words of veteran pivot and REDBLACKS first-year Jeremiah Masoli on Thursday, his first scrum in an Ottawa practice jersey and fresh out of an upbeat first three-day training camp session of 2022.
The quarterback nodded in appreciation to the big men up front as a fierce but consistent battle raged for offensive line spots on opening night.
“There are only five (starting) places and they all help each other. It’s great,” said Masoli.
On the other side of the ball, veteran defensive back Sherrod Baltimore was showing similar day one confidence, working his way to a few well-timed picks, a few dance moves quickly following as the celebrations also had a pre-workout. season. . Fellow defensive players provided the energy every day as they battled it out in drills, one-on-ones and scripted play scenarios.
Around the perimeter of the TD Place pitch, the coaching staff – an impressive combination of experienced, new and returning 2022 faces – led the various post groups through the first steps on the pitch of a new season. .
On Saturday, the REDBLACKS receiving corps added another face to the Canadian and eighth pick in the 2016 draft, Tevaun Smith.
“Since 2019 I was with Edmonton, they drafted me and I appreciate the opportunity they gave me,” Smith said after his first practice. “I hope I can make Ottawa my home, that’s definitely the goal. I’m young in the CFL, so I feel like I have a lot to learn and I haven’t reached my ceiling yet.
Although head coach Paul LaPolice says players are evaluated every day, staff try not to be what he calls “first evaluators.”
“We have three days now, but we’re still talking about guys who have perseverance; can they do it for seven days in a row and then in a game? »
With just under a week to go before the REDBLACKS host Toronto for a pre-season game at TD Place on May 27, the REDBLACKS office made some gestures during the first days of training camp. More recently, Ottawa added a handful of American players, including receiver Henry Litwin, offensive lineman Uzoma Osuji, defensive linemen Deonte Holden and Bryce Carter, and defensive back Adonis Davis. The team also eliminated four players on Saturday.
After Saturday’s practice, head coach Paul LaPolice had his three kids on the field for the post-practice “break,” as did Masoli and defensive lineman Cleyon Laing. Although teammates are like one big family, there’s nothing like your kids cheering you on. A few dozen fans also cheered on their REDBLACKS on Saturday after Fan Fest was canceled. A reminder to #RNation that all REDBLACKS practices are open to the public.