1 – BRADENTON, FL: Just like that, the 2018 Saskatchewan Roughriders Florida minicamp is in the books. The Riders held a roughly 2-hour workout on Wednesday morning at IMG Academy under partly cloudy skies and a temperature of 24 degrees Celsius.
2 – NOTES: Statistically speaking, it was an offensive camp. The QBs were sharp again on Wednesday with unofficial numbers in the skeleton period of: Zach Collaros 14/16 1 INT, Brandon Bridge 13/16, Marquise Williams 8/12 and David Watford 7/8.
3 – PLAYER OF THE DAY: Receiver Jeremy Tabuyo was the Player of the Day on Tuesday having collected the most receptions but on Wednesday, the Player of the Day honour fell to defensive back Nick Marshall. The former Auburn quarterback intercepted Brandon Bridge in the 1-on-1 period and Zach Collaros in skelly.
4 – STANDOUTS: Wednesday’s workout was somewhat routine, without many stellar catches. The cutdown in drops was noticeable as well. I’ll chalk that up to the overall talent, and the high level of play. One receiver who had a noteworthy day was 6’3″, 228 lb Ball State product #81 Jordan Williams-Lambert. His hands were sticky and he used his size to his advantage. He also engaged in a lot of trash talk, clearly trying to get in the heads of the DBs. Not sure if it worked.
5 – MOVING FORWARD: Chris Jones noted after the workout that about half of the players from the Florida minicamp will receive invitations to the main training camp in Saskatoon beginning May 20. So, these 32 players will be waiting by their phones for a call from the Roughriders or their agent. I’d be shocked if Tabuyo and Williams-Lambert aren’t invited.
6 – MORE ON TABUYO: The 5’11”, 192 lb Honolulu product told me after the practice that he “kind of felt great out there” and that current Rider Chad Owens gave him some tips on how to stand out in this camp. Tabuyo also said he participated in the L.A. Rams minicamp so has a history of turning heads.
7 – BRIDGE: Everyone at this camp noted that Brandon Bridge is a different player than one year ago at minicamp in Vero Beach. His high completion percentage in Bradenton proved that. The Mississauga product attributes the jump to another year in the playbook, and to his commitment to off-season training. He’s come a long way and should be commended for that. If it matters, he appeared first in the skelly period with the “first group” but there’s not a ton of stock put in groupings at a minicamp.
8 – COLLAROS: Chris Jones made it clear that the quarterback competition is wide open and Wednesday’s happenings are a nod to that. However Collaros showed up as advertised: calm, smooth, controlled, accurate and can make ALL the throws. He rolled out smoothly without a hitch on Day 2 and it’s clear his former knee problems are in the past. It’s doubtful the media will bring that up again, but it’s also clear there are several in the Rider Nation who are still taking a “wait and see” approach with the Cincinnati product.
9 – OBSERVERS: Current Rider lineman Dariusz Bladek attended Wednesday’s workout, making the drive down from his home in Kissimmee, FL. He was a 2nd round pick in the CFL Draft last year and with this week’s release of Peter Dyakowski, Bladek is now #1 at RG. … And one of my all-time favourite Riders, linebacker Gary Rogers (1994-1999, Vanderbilt), showed up for Day 2 as well. He recently relocated with his wife to St. Petersburg, FL and life is treating him great! “Hype” will be on the SportsCage today on 620 CKRM at 4:00 pm.
10 – NEXT UP: By 11:30 am on Wednesday, the Riders were packed up and gone from IMG Academy. Not a scrap of tape was left on the floor and all that was left was a chewed up field and a few dreams. Next up for the club is next Thursday’s CFL Draft (May 3) which will commence at 6:00 pm ST that evening. It’s disappointing there isn’t more hysteria leading up to the Draft, but that’s nothing new. Canadians just don’t follow university sports like they do here in the USA. It’s something Luc Mullinder and I will discuss on today’s SportsCage.