REGINA –Since he last stepped off a field at the conclusion of the 2012 Western Semi-Final, Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach Corey Chamblin has been itching to get back on it.
Fortunately for him, he will get his chance for a couple of days.
The Riders are getting set to hold a four-day camp at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL. The first two days will see rookies strutting their stuff in front of Chamblin and the rest of his coaching staff, while veterans will take over for the last two days.
Chamblin says it’s a great way to get a head start and he’s looking forward to unofficially starting his second year.
“You know what, I’m really excited,” Chamblin said during a recent guest appearance on 620 CKRM’s “Sportscage”. “It’s year two, part two as far as I’m concerned. We stacked the deck with a couple of more players and I’m very excited to get it started and see some experienced players and some players that are going into their second year who I know will be better. I’m really excited to see this group.”
Last season, this type of camp brought the Riders into contact with Kory Sheets. And while the Riders are always looking for a player of Sheets’ calibre, Chamblin says the four-day stay will also be about getting his coaching staff in-synch with each other.
“This will be like a mini-training camp. We are in a mini training-camp mind right now. The coaches are putting plays in and we are discussing how many plays we will put in when we go down there. While last year was just rookies, this year there will be veterans too so it will be a good chance to start getting the message across and start getting us on that road to where we want to be,” explaing Chamblin.
“I think the camp helped out a lot last year and having some veterans take part this year and get a few extra practices will be great. As for new players, we are in a much different spot now, as I think we are just looking for depth guys, but if someone comes in and shows us that he can compete for a starting job that’s all the better. I’m hoping we find a couple of guys.”
While getting ready to head off to Florida, Chamblin also spent time in Edmonton during the month of March at the Edmonton Regional Combine. He thinks it was a great opportunity to see what potential CFL’ers are all about and if they could be a good fit to his team.
“It was a great event,” Chamblin said. “Some guys came and showed what they had. There were some guys that showed up that maybe didn’t show up on game film and in some cases, some guys look good in shorts but not on the football field for one reason or another. It was a great being able to evaluate some guys early and to sit down and talk with them. You find out if they can not only play the game, but what kind of football smarts they have.”
Once the team returns from the mini-camp in Bradenton, they will start focusing on the CFL draft. The team has the fourth overall pick in the draft which goes May 6.