It’s Friday and what a day it has been so far. The sun was shining, skies were clear and it was just a great day to be covering the Riders main training camp.
So with that in mind, here are some happy thoughts and observations from the morning session at the University of Regina. I’m sure my good humour won’t last through the afternoon session, so you might as well enjoy it while you can.
- James Patrick hasn’t lost any of his ball-hawking ways. He had two interceptions during the morning session and had another pick during Thursday’s afternoon one. Patrick just looks more comfortable out there and it may have to with his increased role with the Riders. Patrick’s role in 2011 was confusing at times and I think it affected his play. Not this season. I would say he’ll have the majority of reps at safety and fill a similar role that led to his all-star status in 2010.
- I have been impressed with LB Sam Hurl. All of the Riders are working their butts off at camp, but Hurl even stands out for me. We talked to this morning about the pop he laid on RB Demetruis Crawford yesterday and like any true linebacker Hurl’s eyes lit up. He said Crawford had attempted to run him over, but Hurl wasn’t anything to do that. The pop of the pads could be heard across the field. Plays like that are why the Riders selected him in the draft.
- LB Darren Stone showed a good burst when he had a knockdown. So did DB Karl Paymah for his knockdown. As part of the overall good feeling to this morning, I’m stressing the positive aspects of camp and not delving into the offensive play that may have contributed to the defensive one.
- LT Xavier Foulton continues to be impressive. He bounced back from tweaking an ankle early in the session to put on another show at tackle. Watch the big guy for a few plays and you’ll see what he might turn out to be the steal of the off-season for the Riders. The Eskimos wanted only a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2013 draft. It’s a great pickup by general manager Brendan Taman if Foulton continues to play at this level.
- DT Keith Shologan is another one of those guys who is working hard to fit into the Riders defensive scheme. Shologan worked out all winter in anticipation of training camp, but I don’t think any of the Riders could be prepared for the tempo. It has taken time for Shologan to adjust, but that process is behind. I delve more into Sholo’s new attitude as part of the Leader-Post’s full-court press on the Riders online later and in Saturday’s print edition.
- CTV’s Lee Jones conducted a long interview with QB Darian Durant and that has turned out to be my main. You can thank Lee for that. The yarn ties in with a special guest who was also on the sidelines on Friday. I could tell you now, but I have to generate internet hits and sell papers. So you know where you can to turn to eventually learn who it is.
- Friday’s practice ended about 25 minutes earlier than scheduled. I think Chamblin is tied in with how the players’ bodies work and tries to get them off their feet as much as possible. I think that they are pushed hard in meetings, though.
That’s it for this glorious morning. Time to pound some stories before the Riders are back on the field at 3:30 p.m. Remember to follow me on Twitter if you want snappier and earlier stuff. Today you could have seen visual proof of how nice it was out there. Those pictures were worth 1,000 words.