EDMONTON --After a gruelling 2013 CFL season, there was plenty of optimism when the players began to file back in Edmonton for training camp yesterday, seeking for a fresh start.
No more excited than star linebacker JC Sherritt who had his season end far too early after refracting his thumb in Week 15.
“I’ve never looked forward more for a season than this year,” said Sherritt. "Talking to these coaches, seeing the players come in, it’s exciting right now.”
Another reason why Sherritt is excited is the new coach he now reports to. At the end of a four-win year in Edmonton, GM Ed Hervey made a coaching change and lured Chris Jones to Edmonton after he spent the last two seasons as Toronto's defensive coordinator.
Jones, who has overlooked defences as a coordinator for 13 years in the CFL, will bring his pedigree to Edmonton and Sherritt couldn't be happier to play under his tutelage.
"I’ve seen his defence for years and you’re kind of envious of it to be honest, but now it’s our turn.”
As much as Sherritt is excited to play for Jones, he’s thrilled to have a coach with a winning pedigree. Jones has coached in six Grey Cup games during his CFL career, winning in three of those and has never missed the playoffs. With winning games remaining his ultimate goal, Sherritt is looking to be a sponge anytime Jones has something to say.
“He’s a winner and has been successful. However he goes, whatever he says, we will be fine with it because we haven’t won and he has. We will be all ears."
As challenging as it was for the Esks to lose their marquee linebacker last season, it gave the opportunity for someone on the roster to emerge and that person was Renne Curran, who stepped right into Sherritt's shoes. Now that the Eskimos know they have a pair of high end linebackers and both healthy, it only points to the defence being better this season.
Not only is Sherritt looking forward to playing alongside Curran, but also another free agent pick up that learned under Jones for two years in Toronto, Pat Watkins.
“I’m excited to play with Renne, he’s a great talent,”said Sherritt. “With Pat Watkins coming in, you know as a defence we were all happy about that,” said a grinning Sherritt.
With an entire new coaching staff parlayed with new faces, the key to training camp will be finding the best lineups that click.
“We will rotate combinations until we find the right one,” said Sherritt.
- With files from Esks.com