Training camp 2021

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B.C.FAN
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Monday's practice took place under the lights on a smoky, 32-degree Kamloops night. I missed the opening of training camp on the weekend so this was my first chance to see the 2021 Lions. Here are some observations from a less-than-ideal vantage point outside the locked gates of Hillside Stadium.

The first noticeable change under the new coaching staff was the absence of the segment clock and timing horn first introduced by then-coach Jeff Tedford in 2015. There weren't even many whistles as players moved seamlessly and quietly from one practice drill to the next. The first of the night's two practice sessions was slower paced than the second, padded session but both sessions featured some spirited team play.

On offence, the explosiveness of free-agent receivers Lucky Whitehead and Dominique Rhymes stood out. Both seem to have big roles in the first-team offence. Whitehead beat Victor Gamboa on a 73-yard bomb from Michael Reilly in the first practice session. Bryan Burnham also scored a big TD, taking a dig route across the field and down the sideline in the second session. (I mistook his number 16 for 19 initially in this report. Blame the distance, smoky air or my age.) Shaq Johnson and Lemar Durant round out an exciting receiving corps. Free-agent RB Shaq Cooper looks to be another solid addition to the starting lineup. Recently re-signed national receiver Jevon Cottoy looks as big, strong and fast as ever after spending the past year seeking NFL opportunities as a tight end. He has as good hands as anyone but he got only spot duty with the first team. His main role seems to be as a gunner on the punt team. Rookie American Shane Leatherbury and free-agent national Jacob Scarfone looked good on the second-team offence. Leatherbury also showed some shifty moves as a punt returner alongside veteran RB/KR Chris Rainey and rookie receivers Jimmie Robinson Jr., Devin Phelps and Jonathon Johnson.

Reilly, who now goes by his Michael to honour his late mother, looked sharp and decisive in the pocket after a year off to rest and recover from his broken left wrist. Will Arndt took second team reps and showed some good scrambling ability but struggled with accuracy. Rookie draft pick Nathan Rourke may yet challenge for that position.

Of the three kickers in camp, Stefan Flintoft from UCLA stood out with consistent booming punts and strong field goal kicking. Japenese kicker Takeru Yamasaki also looked good on field goal attempts. Australian Jake Ford looked like he was playing Aussie rules. His kicks went everywhere.

The practice ended with a couple of big pass breakups that generated lots of cheers and high-fives from the overhauled defence. (Sorry, I was too far away to see exactly what happened.) DBs Garry Peters and T.J. Lee are the only two returning defensive starters from 2019, while Victor Gamboa steps into the starting secondary after seeing spot duty that year. The influence of DB coach Ryan Phillips is evident on his unit, and with head coach Rick Campbell doubling as defensive coordinator we can expect an attacking style of play that feasts on turnovers. I know we've been promised that in the past but I'm hopeful that the new coaching staff will make it happen.

As best as I could make out from a distance, the following players got first-team reps (new Lions in orange):

OFFENCE:
QB - Michael Reilly
RB - Shaq Cooper
FB - David Mackie
WR - Domonique Rhymes
SB - Bryan Burnham
SB - Lemar Durant
WR/SB - Lucky Whitehead
WR/SB - Shaq Johnson
LT - Phil Norman (I didn't see veteran starter Joel Figueroa)
LG - Hunter Steward
C - Peter Godber
RG - Sukh Chungh
RT - Ryker Mathews

DEFENCE:
DE - J.R. Tavai
DT - Lewis Neal
DT - Ufomba Kamalu
DE - Chris Casher
SAM - Anthony Cioffi
MLB - Jordan X. Williams (2020 first overall draft pick, not to be confused with American LB Jordan M. Williams)
WILL - Bo Lokombo
BCB - Garry Peters
BHB - T.J. Lee
S - Tyvis Powell
FHB - Marcus Sayles
FCB - Victor Gamboa

Edited to credit the second TD of Monday’s practice to Bryan Burnham.


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Hambone
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Gridiron Ernie wrote:
Sat Jul 10, 2021 2:14 pm
I'm keenly interested (and a bit concerned) regards the team filling the safety position in the aftermath of Kenny Ladler's recent retirement a couple weeks ago. Also am intrigued by what will come of the new faces (all Lions rookies--and I think CFL rookies) in the place-kicking/punting department.
Judging by BCF's report of Monday's TC from high atop a grassy knoll outside the TRU fence Tyvis Powell has been given the first crack. Not unlike many NCAA products Powell was a football vagabond with 10 different cups of coffee thru 8 different NFL organizations over 5 years. He did suit up for 18 games with 1 start from 2016 thru 2018 with Seattle and SF. Nonetheless he is intriguing. He is a safety by trade whose 6'3" 210# frame should be imposing to receivers coming over the middle. He was a safety at THE Ohio State University and had been looked upon as a safety throughout his NFL stops.


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TheLionKing
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Excellent reporting B.C.Fan


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BC 1988
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Hambone wrote:
Tue Jul 13, 2021 7:47 am
Judging by BCF's report of Monday's TC from high atop a grassy knoll outside the TRU fence
lol, Yes that sounds like quite the adventure getting a look in with smoke levels varying last night from 6 to 10+.

Great work B.C.FAN.


Reg18
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I wouldnt be shrprised if we keep all 5 qb until game 3or 4.so long ass they all have a good camp. Lots of potential and with injuries we might need the insurance of having depth at Qb. Lots of competition evertywhere but i will be eatching RBs, d line and LBs. If thge vrbs all have a good casmp and stay injury free then it might come down to the better of Corbin or butler to back up shaq coopert. And at Lb i expect Hladik and Jordan williams vto boith starting in game1. Two great draft picks who could have long careers.. And D line i think the competition will be amongs twonfl vets. And at leasdt one new national playet might make the team. Lots of bodies to sort out. Let the best man win


Reg18
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Was thete any news out ofbthe first couple days of camp?


Reg18
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I havent seen any updates. Did everyone report? Any suspensions for reportying noutnof shaspe?


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SammyGreene
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Reg18 wrote:
Tue Jul 13, 2021 5:12 pm
I havent seen any updates. Did everyone report? Any suspensions for reportying noutnof shaspe?
Kamloops This Week did a nice detailed interview with Burnham yesterday:

https://www.kamloopsthisweek.com/sports ... 1.24341672

And great report BC FAN. Much appreciated.


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Hambone
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Reg18 wrote:
Tue Jul 13, 2021 4:41 pm
I wouldnt be shrprised if we keep all 5 qb until game 3or 4.so long ass they all have a good camp. Lots of potential and with injuries we might need the insurance of having depth at Qb. Lots of competition evertywhere but i will be eatching RBs, d line and LBs. If thge vrbs all have a good casmp and stay injury free then it might come down to the better of Corbin or butler to back up shaq coopert. And at Lb i expect Hladik and Jordan williams vto boith starting in game1. Two great draft picks who could have long careers.. And D line i think the competition will be amongs twonfl vets. And at leasdt one new national playet might make the team. Lots of bodies to sort out. Let the best man win
Not happening. I'd say even keeping 4 is a longshot. Most teams will only be dressing 2 QBs. To keep 5 around would mean putting 3 onto the PR. That would hurt American depth at all positions. Given the ratio the PR is where all teams keep their next man up American starters.


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David
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Great reporting BCFAN, much appreciated.

This link below provides some pretty cool footage where you can see some projected starters on the field with Michael Reilly. I believe Lucky Whitehead is going to be a key feature on offense this year and be given every opportunity to showcase his speed and game-breaking potential.

Coach Campbell very pleased with the first true practice and thinks this group has the talent to compete with anyone (I echo this. We have the potential to put up a lot of points this season provided the field goal unit doesn't disappoint).

https://cfjctoday.com/2021/07/12/lions- ... certainty/


DH :cool:


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B.C.FAN
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I'll give a shout out to Matt Baker and the team at bclions.com and their social media channels for posting daily features and photos from camp as well as player and coach Zoom interviews. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I'm in Surrey this week while the Lions are in Kamloops. I'll try to make it back for the Friday night practice and the first scrimmage of camp on Saturday morning.

I counted about 10 people at any one time watching Monday's practice from outside the chain-link fence in the corner of the end zone at Hillside Stadium but the sightlines aren't great, especially through the smoke at night. I'm crossing my fingers that the grandstand will be open to fans beginning next Monday.


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SammyGreene
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David wrote:
Tue Jul 13, 2021 6:23 pm
Great reporting BCFAN, much appreciated.

This link below provides some pretty cool footage where you can see some projected starters on the field with Michael Reilly. I believe Lucky Whitehead is going to be a key feature on offense this year and be given every opportunity to showcase his speed and game-breaking potential.

Coach Campbell very pleased with the first true practice and thinks this group has the talent to compete with anyone (I echo this. We have the potential to put up a lot of points this season provided the field goal unit doesn't disappoint).

https://cfjctoday.com/2021/07/12/lions- ... certainty/


DH :cool:
Thanks David and pretty cool it's Rick Klassen's son doing the report.

JJ Adams' with an excellent feature on the Lions offensive line. Fair to say the play in the trenches is going to go a long way on how this team performs this year.

https://theprovince.com/sports/football ... y-sessions


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DanoT
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From the article above on the B.C. O line, talking about the play in 2019 when Reilly got sacked and his wrist broken:
"and most of the five (O line) didn’t realize Reilly was passing on the run-pass option play".
This is why I hate the RPO offense: the D line and LBs are the first to know if it is run or pass play, the O line is the last to know; advantage to the D.


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Two good interviews from training camp:
Michael (not Mike) Reilly this morning on Rintoul & Surman starts at 26:10
https://podcast.sportsnet.ca/scott-rint ... -hour-2-2/
and
Rick Campbell yesterday on Donnie & Dhali


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David
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In the recent JJ Adams (Province) report that SammyGreene provided a link to, I love this comment from Ryker Mathews.
“The things that coach (Rick) Campbell has done with the team just in the last year, through the COVID season, are all changes that are going to make us better. Our squad here is awesome. I mean, I think we’re an all-star team.
Hyperbole? Perhaps. But these guys have been around a lot of football. They know early on when their team looks really promising and when it looks like ca-ca (which they often know deep down but are reluctant to admit).


DH :cool:


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