Today was Day 4 of training camp. The intra-squad scrimmage was held this morning. I wasn’t able to attend but I was at Alumni Stadium for most of Day 3’s practice.
Gryphons intrasquad game at 2017 Training Camp Photo: Gryphons.ca
All I really know about the scrimmage came from this Gryphons.ca – Legendary football coach Brian Towriss visits Gryphon training camp …
Coach Towriss … got a taste of manning the sideline Monday morning. He faced off against another legend, Gary Jeffries, as the two led their respective sides in the Gryphons’ intrasquad scrimmage at Alumni Stadium.
Team Towriss defeated Team Jeffries 26-8 in the first competitive action of 2017 training camp.
“It was fun to be on the sideline with those guys,” said Towriss. “This is a good group of kids and there’s lots of potential here
I had a chance to talk with former UofS Huskies head coach Brian Towriss on Sunday. He has been long-time friends with Gary Jeffries. and has know Kevin MacNeill since he worked at UBC. It was MacNeill who invited him to TC back in May while at the USports East-West Bowl. Some of what we talked about is also covered in the Gryphons.ca article.
A few other points … he likes the talent Guelph has … he commented specifically on the size and talent of the O-Linemen in this year’s recruiting class … he is really high on the coaching staff … a great group of teachers … the Mac guys [coaches Forsythe and Sardo] are great additions.
With a large number of coaches already on the field, Towriss says he is there to be an extra set of eyes, share some ideas, help evaluate, give advice when asked, etc. He said he is also there to learn some new things himself.
Photo: Jerry Ashford
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Today’s scrimmage combined with the first 3 power practices was going to be used to make the decision on who would go to Nova Scotia this Friday. The team will take 70 healthy players for Saturday’s exhibition games with StFX and Mount Allison.
Reminder: the games will be streamed on-line via AUStv.ca. The start time is noon Atlantic Time which is 11 a.m. in Ontario.
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Speaking of healthy players … this training camp appears to be off to a great start. There was no long line of wounded players like I’ve sometimes seen in the past. There were very few players not participating in practice. Some minor strains and sprains and some blisters were the worst I saw or heard about. The few players with pre-camp injuries may be the only ones to miss any significant time at this point.
One explanation I heard for there being fewer injuries: this team is in better condition than previous years. Not just are there fewer injuries but fewer players are reporting soreness and tired muscles. To put it simply, a lot of players put in a lot of hard work and its paying off.
One coach mentioned freshman DL recruit Mitchell Thiele as an example of a player who didn’t play summer football and who put a great deal of effort into his training. He reported in better condition than is usually expected for freshmen.
This seems to echo what Coach MacNeill has said,
“We did lose some good vets who will be sorely missed, but the work this group has put in during the off season has been tremendous and the leadership of this group has been awesome,” said MacNeill.
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I made it a point to meet and speak with the new team trainer – Dave Wright. When you have to replace your trainer just a few weeks before camp starts I’m not sure how you could find a candidate with better experience and qualifications.
From RedBlacks.com …
David Wright serves as Director of Athletic Therapy for all three OSEG sports teams, overseeing conditioning and therapy for REDBLACKS, Fury FC and 67’s players.
A Certified Athletic Therapist with over 28 years of sports medicine experience, Wright was a founder and director of Mind to Muscle Sports Medicine & Conditioning, located in Mississauga, ON where he assisted in the development of athletes from the novice to professional levels.
He also held a faculty position as an instructor with the University of Guelph/Humber, teaching in the Kinesiology degree program and instructing at Humber College in Fitness and Health Promotion.
Wright was the Head Athletic Therapist with the Toronto Argonauts from 2011-2013, including the club’s 100th Grey Cup championship.
Fortunately for the Gryphons, Wright’s home and family are in Erin, and the time was right for him to work closer to home and spend more time with his family. Wright has a full-time assistant working with him during the season. Nikita is a Sheridan College student on a co-op placement.
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There are 106 players at training camp. That includes offensive lineman Spencer Swan who is back on the field after taking last year off.
A story by Tony Saxon at GuelphToday.com provides some details …
One of the good news items of this year’s camp is that two key players that missed all of last season with injury are back in uniform: defensive back Orion Edwards and receiver Jacob Scarfone.
… Key losses from last year’s squad are receivers A’dre Fraser and Ryan Nieuwesteeg, defensive back Tristan Doughlin, running back Daniel Palmer-Salmon and linebacker Andrew Graham.
The brother duo of running back Mack Jones and receiver Colton Jones did not return this season.
Some returning players are working at new positions. Johnny Augustine appears to have moved from tailback to H-Back. No question, that would allow him to better utilize some of the skills he wowed people with at the CFL Combine – blocking and receiving. Harry Robinson who spent his freshman season as a DB and special teams player is back on the offensive side of the ball at running back.
On the defensive side of the ball, AJ Allen has moved up to DE from linebacker while Justis Croasdale has gone the other way, from LB/DE to Corner. I’m not sure that these will be where these players end up but that is where they were working yesterday.
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Everyone seems to be impressed with the new recruits. The coaches are very pleased with what they’ve seen so far.
Alumnus Chris Portwood told me he was 6’4″ 230 when he reported to training camp in 1996. He looked around the room and saw some big guys but thought “I fit in here”. Standing on the sidelines Sunday and looking at the size of the OL and DL recruits he admitted he’d have been scared.