Saturday marked the seventh (consecutive) day of Ottawa REDBLACKS Training Camp, presented by TD. At this point, everyone is feeling the burn a little bit, players, coaches, athletic therapists. Long hours on the field are just part of longer days spent in offence/defence and positional meetings, with everyone at the stadium for an early breakfast and home long after dinner. “I haven’t done a two-a-day in over two years so I gotta get my rear-end in shape,” joked quarterbacks coach Steve Walsh of the packed schedule.
Birthday alert: REDBLACKS quarterback Dom Davis turned 32 on Saturday. Going into his third season with Ottawa and sixth in the CFL, the former Winnipeg Blue Bomber ranks as the fourth-oldest player on the team, behind QB Matt Nichols (36), DL Stefan Charles (33) and LB Don Unamba (turned 32 in February).
Media connections: It’s no secret that the CFL is a very small world and almost everyone knows each other in some way. That was on display during Saturday’s media availability, as Tim Baines, the REDBLACKS beat writer for Postmedia, interviewed Ottawa receiver/running back Anthony Coombs. Coombs, who signed with Ottawa in early 2020, previously played for Hamilton where he was coached by Baines’ son, Jarryd. The younger Baines served as Hamilton’s Assistant Wide Receivers Coach and Offensive Quality Control Coach when Coombs was there in 2019, but has since been promoted to Receivers Coach. “Say hi to him for me,” Coombs told the senior Baines. Coombs, who has spent the bulk of his CFL career in Toronto, was thrilled with the opportunity to come to Ottawa. “Since I’ve been in the league Ottawa’s been a contender in the east, so this is a great place for me to be,” he said.
Lightening the mood: A bit of a skirmish broke out during practice Saturday, something every team sees in camp with competition and intensity peaking. Antoine Pruneau, who is about as intense as it gets on the field but quick to give or earn a laugh with his teammates, was spotted doing exaggerated air-martial arts during the pushing and shoving. “You know me, always ready to get in there,” he said with a laugh from the sideline. Cooler heads prevailed quickly and all was forgiven moments later. That’s training camp, for ya.
Lights, camera..hut? Back to Dominque Davis for a moment. Players and coaches all spent their extended time away from the football field a little differently and Davis, who stayed in Ottawa during the cancelled 2020 season, got into acting. “I’m a five movies and a couple commercials in, in the background, Hallmark movies,” said Davis, who still hopes to pursue a career as a football coach after his playing career. “I got my foot in the door and you gotta start somewhere.”
Scrimmage time: Sunday’s practice will see the team run through a number of game-like scenarios while using features like the play clock and having coaches up in the spotter’s box and on the sidelines. The next big test with the first roster cutdown coming next week.
Check out more coverage from Saturday’s practice at OttawaSun.com and in Sunday’s paper.
Training Camp sponsored by TD.
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