A lot of new faces made a positive first impression when the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ mini camp wrapped up Thursday at the FieldHouse in Moose Jaw.
“I was really just pleased overall with what I saw,” said new Riders head coach Corey Chamblin. “My general statement to them was about the mental and physical conditioning that they would have to be in when they get to training camp. Hopefully they pass it on to the guys who weren’t here. . . they have to know that we’re going to practice fast and we’re going to play fast.”
Chamblin said he would watch the tape and grade it like a game, making sure each player knew what they did right and wrong on each play before they head into main camp.
The two-day camp went by fast, but it was a good first look for the new regime at a lot of new players.
One of those new faces looking to impress was quarterback Colt Brennan. The two-time Heismann Trophy finalist in the NCAA enjoyed his first taste of Canadian football at the two-day mini camp.
“I felt rusty sometimes with some of the things that I used to do so well naturally; I still have to knock off some cobwebs,” said Brennan.
“I think once we get into training camp and we get into five or six days of practicing I think I’m going to really start to blossom and I’m excited about that.”
Brennan set a number of NCAA records during a storied career at the University of Hawaii. He was drafted by the Washington Redskins, but his time there was marred by a torn hamstring and a hip injury that required surgery. He was briefly with Oakland before joining a team in the United Football League that folded before the season began.
It’s understandable that his enthusiasm to be back on the field was palpable.
“One of the coaches asked me: ‘do you eat a lot of candy?’ and I don’t have a sweet tooth, but I’ve been away from football and I’ve had a lot of adversity. I’m happy to be back playing football,” said Brennan.
“Flying up I couldn’t believe how excited I was, but that’s a good feeling.”
Brennan said he had been hesitant to make the jump to the CFL previously though he had some offers. After being one of the best quarterbacks in the college ranks it took him some time to come to terms with the end of his NFL dream.
“I really wanted to try to get back to the NFL. I stepped out for a minute, some bad stuff happened and I wanted to get back so bad. I realized how far of a journey that would be for me,” said the six-foot-three Laguna Beach, Calif. product. “I decided that if I go to Canada, I’m going to forget about the NFL and I’m going to go to Canada to play Canadian football and that’s all I’m going to focus on.”