The on-field portion of training camp got underway today with two practices. There are 113 players in camp – 77 returning players, 36 recruits & transfers. I didn’t make it to Guelph today but I have heard from some who did.
A veteran CIS observer told me “it looks like a professional camp”. This being the first camp that takes place on the new turf field of Alumni adds to that impression. Plus the Ticats’ enhancements. The locker-rooms are close to the field. Players are not hiking up to Varsity field anymore.
All I heard about the morning session was that it was “very crisp” for a first practice. Feedback from the afternoon session was a little more plentiful:
- two players who stood out – freshman RB Mason Swift and transfer QB Mackenzie Blewett. Swift appears to have what it takes to be an “amazing” H-back. Blewett stands tall in the pocket and throws very well. He has a strong arm and throws the wide-side out with authority. If he can learn the playbook quickly he will push the returning QBs.
- The veteran receiving core – Dimitroff, Trivieri and Lindsey [yes Saxon is back] in particular – gave the freshman DBs more than they could handle in one-on-ones.
- Iian Hutchison appears to be the heir apparent at the safety position.
- The D-line looks like it can be very good in 2013. Looking impressive at DE were Cam Walker and Jordan Thompson. Good to hear that Thompson was looking good on day one as it took him too long in 2012 to get back to his freshman-of-the-year form. Inside, one observer told me Jeff Finley and transfer Ian Marouf were the players that caught his eye.
- Along the O-line Jake Piotrowski and Cam Thorn look like they are ready to have big years after spending time in CFL training camps back in June. Rumours are true – OG/OC Jamie Lalonde did not return for his sophomore season. Lalonde saw some action in most games in 2012 and started one. He would have been hard-pressed to equal that in 2013 with last year’s starters all returning and Cam Wilhelm moving from tackle to guard. However, Lalonde was thought to be the likely starter at the center position after Cody O’Neil graduates or in the event he is injured. I’m sure developing a back up centre will be a priority.
I will be attending today’s afternoon practice and will try to get another update written tonight.
One other item of interest, 2012 American RB recruit Ray Bahr was at practice yesterday but he wasn’t in pads. Bahr had a successful year at Guelph academically in 2012-2013 but his football opportunities ended when he took sick early in last season’s training camp. As I understand it, Bahr returned to Guelph for his second year and was going to play football when he received a surprise job opportunity. Bahr is putting his academic and football plans on hold to accept a “dream job” in Alaska.
The Guelph Mercury has 16 picture photo gallery from Day 1 of camp here. That pales in comparison to the 90 photos posted on the University of Guelph – Gryphon Football Facebook page. LIKE their Facebook page to receive frequent updates.