Some thoughts and observations from the first session of the Roughriders rookie camp:
- We all know they are practising at the University of Regina due to the renovations at Mosaic Stadium. There is free parking at Lot 17, but it’s a bit of hike to the practice field so be prepared for some exercise. I know I need it, so it won’t be a bad thing.
- The sight lines aren’t as good as at Mosaic Stadium. We’ve all been spoiled that way. One nice touch is the player’s numbers are on their helmets. That helps with identification.
- There were a few no-shows, which is part of any camp. WR Dwayne Jarrett and OT Johan Asiata were among the players not at camp due to travel issues. Head coach Corey Chamblin expects most of the players to be here for main camp on Sunday.
- DE Odell Willis stole the show on Thursday. He was on the field for most of the session and then met with the media to discuss his off-season DUI. Willis was contrite and an apologized for embarrassing the team. That’s my main tomorrow, so you’ll have to wait for details. Chamblin did say that Willis was second on the depth chart behind Kenny Rowe, which was a surprise. Willis will have to prove to the Riders that he deserves to move up on the depth chart.
- My original main was going be on the Riders signing all four draft picks, but the Willis story bumped it. It may not be as important to the future of the franchise, but it’s a good story. Really, I thought OL Ben Heenan, LB Sam Hurl, LB Kevin Regimbald-Gagne and WR Ismael Bamba would sign and be on hand Thursday. I’ll have more on their thoughts online later and in Friday’s paper.
- There are five quarterbacks in camp with the addition of Asher Hastings from the Regina Thunder. Our man Greg Harder talked to Hastings and we’ll have more on the Thunder players taking part in camp later. The other juniors are R Clay Cooke and DL Zach Evans.
- After all of the rookies left the field, Darian Durant spent time throwing to some of the veterans. Rob Bagg looks bigger this year and doesn’t appear to have lost a step. I’m sure there will be more on the development of the receivers as we get deeper into training camp.
Remember to follow me on Twitter for shorter and quicker updates.