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Isaac Owusu – Ticats.ca Staff
STONEY CREEK, ON — The initial phase of the 2014 season is now all wrapped up.
The Tiger-Cats completed the final day of this year’s mini-camp on Wednesday. Once again, the team was inside practicing at Players Paradise Sports Complex in Stoney Creek.
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After winning a Grey Cup with Saskatchewan in 2013, Craig Butler has gone home to join the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, a move that his new coaches and teammates are already excited about.
Rookies Isaac Dell and Pawel Kruba have been active participants in the team’s three days of activities as they prepare to head into training camp, which opens in late May.
“You can tell there’s a clear difference between university and CFL and that exciting because you have to pick your game up,” said Dell, a fullback out of Wilfred Laurier stated.
“You have to excel. You have to rise to the level of play and hopefully above it,” he added.
Dell was a Ticats 2013 draftee, but opted to return to Laurier last year after suffering a concussion in training camp.
With injuries behind him, he aims to make his official CFL debut this upcoming season.
“My head is fine, I haven’t had a problem since last summer. There is no issues there, I feel healthy. Training’s gone well,” he said.
On the defensive side Kruba, a rookie free agent defensive back from Western University, has taken his experience in mini camp as a way to learn and grow.
“Personally I just want to come in here and solidify with myself that I belong here,” he said.
“This is the next level, so to come in here and prove to myself that I belong . Just to come and compete. So just moving forward and getting ready for training camp.”
He understands the importance of showing up to mini-camp, on a personal and team level while taking away valuable lessons from the three-day experience.
“There’s little philosophies and techniques that the coaches have that you just try to soak in, so when you come here in training camp you’ll be ready and on the same page, and so it’s not all new,” Kruba said.
For Dell, mini camp has been a positive in pointing out the negatives.
“It’s been a little bit of an eye opener, you find out areas that you need to work on. Stuff that you might have gotten away with in university or at a lower level will expose you here and that’s good to make you improve your game,” he said.
“In this camp I was looking at what I thought, and what the coaches thought I need to work on to improve,” he added.
With the arrival of training camp in just a few short weeks, Kruba only sees this camp as being a benefit for his game.
“This camp has made me more comfortable, so when I get back next month I can play faster and know the systems better,“ he said.
“I have a base at least, so I’m not trying to reach for straws.”