July 21, 2021

DAY ELEVEN: News and notes from Day 11 of Ottawa REDBLACKS Training Camp

OTTAWA, ONTARIO, CANADA - July 20: Ottawa REDBLACKS (CFL) Training Camp action on July 20, 2021 at TD Place Stadium in Ottawa, Ontario. (Photo by Jon Halpenny / Ottawa REDBLACKS)

Unsung heroes: Yes, training camp is a grind for players. But let’s take a minute and recognize the ridiculous amount of work and mileage that the equipment and athletic therapy staff puts in every day. Leading the charge for both of those crucial departments are Nick Mercuri as Head Athletic Therapist and Drew McCormick. Both are experienced in their roles with the REDBLACKS, though both are taking on the lead roles for their first seasons in 2021. Two tremendously dedicated and hardworking people who lead equally dedicated teams of pros and make things tick in the background. Every one of them is, very literally, always moving.
Unsung heroes, part 2: Just how much mileage do some of the REDBLACKS on-field staff put on during camp? McCormick, who was promoted to the lead equipment manager role following the departure of day-oner RJ James, cleared that up with his smart watch statistics. On Tuesday, for example, McCormick walked/ran 44,725 steps or just shy of 35 KM. The veteran equipment manager says the legs are still feeling good through the camp grind.
Scrimmage, with fans, OMG: REDBLACKS Season Seat Members will have the opportunity to watch the team scrimmage on Saturday, as camp winds down. Up to 1,000 free tickets are available and a registration has been sent out to those who are eligible. Covid restrictions have kept practices closed to the public, but this is an excellent opportunity to see the team in game-like situations. And yes, there will be food and drink available to buy. And football to watch. Should be a good day. There will be referees, too,  but it’s pre-season for them, too, so go easy.
All the best: The REDBLACKS’ best wishes are with former Defensive Line Coach Leroy Blugh. The BC Lions announced the experienced coach will not be back this season. Blugh joined the REDBLACKS for the club’s inaugural 2014 season, winning a Grey Cup in 2016 and appearing in two others.
Spotted: Spotted this week watching a few minutes of practice was outgoing Ottawa 6’7s Head Coach Andre “Bear” Tourigny, who recently signed on to lead the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes behind the bench. Tourigny, who heads back to the desert on Thursday, stuck around long enough to ask about how the REDBLACKS were looking and inquiring about his doppelgänger, Coach Paul LaPolice. Tourigny also gave a ringing endorsement to new 67’s Head Coach Dave Cameron, who was hired Wednesday. Read more on that here
Quote of the day: Without exhibition games this year and coming off a long layoff, REDBLACKS Defensive Line Carey Bailey highlighted the heightened importance of each camp practice: “Each rep is critical, each day is critical because the first time you line up against an opponent, it’s going to be for real.”
Training Camp presented by TD.