Spring football is over for the Gryphons. Our student-athletes are in the midst of their final exams. But things are just heating up on several other Canadian football fronts. The OVFL held their annual Prospects Game yesterday. This week Team Ontario’s Red-Black Weekend & Game comes back to Guelph. I watched the game last year and will definitely be heading to Guelph for the second edition of the game which is at 2 pm Saturday in Alumni Stadium.
CFL teams are holding their 3-day mini camps this month, to be followed by full-blown training camps at the end of May. All-Canadian OG Cam Thorn will report to BC Lions for their April 28-30 mini-camp. The Montreal Alouettes on the other hand, aren’t inviting their lineman to their mini-camp this week in Florida, so Guelph’s 2013 OUA All Star OT Jake Piotrowski will re-start his opportunity to make the Al’s roster at the end of May.
Another CFL team holding a Florida mini-camp is Kyle Walters‘ Winnipeg Blue Bombers. First day in and folks at the Winnipeg Free Press are already taking note that new HC Mike O’Shea is a different type of coach, while the Winnipeg Sun writes Mike O’Shea … debuts at Florida camp. Walters, O’Shea and Pat Tracey will all be returning to their Guelph roots for the 4th Annual Gryphon Football Gala on May 3. Walters is the guest speaker and tickets for the event can still be purchased on-line.
The CFL’s newest franchise, the Ottawa RedBlacks, held their first-ever mini-camp last week at the Washington Redskins training facility in Richmond, VA. Tim Baines, a friend of Gryphon football, was there to write and tweet about it for the Ottawa Sun. Read his reports here, here and here.
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Between the mini-camps and main training camps the CFL will conduct its 2014 Draft [May 13]. Former Gryphon QB Justin Dunk has become on of the recognized experts on the CFL Draft. Dunk covered all of last month’s combines for Sportsnet and CFL.ca. He has assessed the draft stock of all the top prospects, including Gryphon running back …
Robert Farquharson, RB, Guelph
Height 5’8” Weight 204 pounds
Farquharson tested better than scouts expected at the Combine. He is a bowling ball, downhill type of runner and really good in pass protection. He has sneaky athleticism and possesses the physical capabilities to possibly get a shot on special teams and work his way onto a CFL roster.
In my opinion Farquharson’s stock actually rose. Farq’s testing numbers were very good. I think in the eyes of many observers Farquharson passed Mt A’s Jordan Botel as a RB prospect. I think the problem for Farquharson is that CFL teams draft and use very few Canadian running backs. It is quite possible that he could go undrafted in spite of being ranked the #4 running back according to CFLDaily.ca.
In truth, Farquharson doesn’t have a huge body of work. He has only been the featured tailback for a season and a half. He has proven he’s a good runner and solid in pass protection but he hasn’t done a lot as a lead blocker or as a receiver and CFL teams are often looking to turn RBs into fullbacks [Darryl Stephenson] or receivers [Andre Durie]. If Farquharson were to return to Guelph and stay injury free in 2014, it is quite conceivable he could rush for 1,000+ yards. That would almost certainly give him another shot at the CFL even if he doesn’t get drafted this year.
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Also, on the CFL radar are a couple other Gryphons – DT Jeff Finley and WR Saxon Lindsey. Both have had CFL teams talking to them since their performances at the Toronto regional combine. At 6’2′ & 255-pounds Finley is a classic “tweener”, smaller than a proto-typical CFL DT while possessing many of the attributes of a DE. Finley gives Guelph an uncommon asset, a legit pass rusher on the interior of the line. Lindsey put up some outstanding testing numbers in the combine. They may well have been good enough to get him invited to the National Combine if he had been draft eligible. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lindsey is offered a free agent contract after the CFL draft by a team needing depth at receiver.