Friday’s training camp session for the Edmonton Eskimos lasted just 40 minutes as the team will enjoy a lighter schedule after two straight days of two-a-day sessions which featured padded practices.
The Eskimos will hold a walk-through practice on Saturday and then on Sunday, the team will play their first pre-season game against the B.C. Lions on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium.
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Playing a game week after training camp opens is a challenge with veterans trying to knock the rust off and get used to the systems and for rookies and hopefuls trying to make the team.
Veteran receiver Greg Ellingson says playing with a limited playbook in the pre-season helps to make the process easier.
“The thing that’s nice about the pre-season game is that we install so much for the first three, four, five days of practice and then when it comes to the first game you kind of drop back,” Ellingson said.
“They cut a lot of stuff so that everybody can really go over what we have and make sure that we can play really fast. We can hustle around and think less, perform and show your physical abilities because that’s what the pre-season’s for.”
With just two pre-season games and a three-week training camp, it presents challenges for the coaching staff to have a proper evaluation before the 46-man roster needs to be set on June 8.
Head coach Jason Maas says while having a game a week after the opening of camp isn’t the best scenario, there will be plenty of film to evaluate.
“Just the competition, the compete, hitting people and finishing plays,” Maas said. “It’s all of those things. It’s one thing to see them practice and think a play’s made, but it’s another thing entirely to finish it. That’s what we’re looking for: execution, play fast and see what kind of team we’re made of.”
There will be a number of new Eskimos making their debuts with the green and gold, like Ellingson who says he’s looking forward for the chance to suit up again.
“It’s still me under the helmet, me under the pads and under the different colours. It’s still Greg Ellingson playing football and learning the offence, learning my new teammates and just excited to get back to football and playing again,” Ellingson said.
“Having the chance to show what we have as an offence, the tempo we’re going to have, the playmakers we have and really get this thing rolling so we are starting off on the right foot.”
Listen below: Maas talks about the challenges of playing a pre-season game a week after opening training camp and what he’s looking for in the game on Sunday
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Eskimos player profile
- No. 93
- Defensive end
- 6’2″, 257 pounds
- Born: April 26, 1995 in Ghana
- School: Wilfrid Laurier
Ottawa Redblacks quarterback Trevor Harris (7) gets sacked by Edmonton Eskimos defensive end Kwaku Boateng (93) during first half CFL football action in Ottawa on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Going into his third season with the Eskimos, Kwaku Boateng has high expectations for himself and the Eskimos defensive line in 2019.
“The goal is to lead the country in sacks and win games and make a big impact.”
Boateng led the Eskimos in sacks last season with nine and was sixth in the CFL — six back of Charleston Hughes of Saskatchewan who led the league with 15.
Defensive back Arjen Colquhoun and offensive lineman Colin Kelly returned to practice after missing Thursday’s session. Offensive lineman Sir Vincent Rogers and running backs Shaq Cooper and Martese Jackson missed practice for the second straight day.
The Eskimos released international receiver Jake Smith.
The Eskimos host the B.C. Lions on Sunday. The kick-off on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium is at 2 p.m., 630 CHED will have Countdown to Kick-off starting at 12:30 p.m.
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