Twitter and Facebook were on fire this weekend as the results from the CFL Evaluation Camp and National Invitational Combine (NIC) rolled in. Three Huskies, offensive lineman Ben Heenan and defensive backs Bryce McCall and Keenan MacDougall, participated in the CFL camp while defensive lineman David Rybinski participated in the NIC camp.
Every Huskie was at or near the top of their groups, with Rybinski leading things off with 29 bench press reps on Friday at the NIC, a new personal best for him and one of the top performances at the camp. He also ran a 5.28 second 40-yard dash, had a 30 inch vertical jump, and had an eight feet three inch broad jump.
At the CFL E-Camp on Saturday, Ben Heenan started things off with 32 reps on the bench, which was the best among the offensive linemen and second overall, and had the best broad jump at eight feet three inches, besting a couple notable running back prospects by a large margin. Heenan finished tied for second among the offensive linemen with a 27 inch vertical, while running a very respectable 5.28 second 40 yard dash.
Heenan’s impressive performance was expected, but things really took off when the results for the defensive backs became available. MacDougall and McCall finished one-two in the bench press with 23 and 20 reps respectively. MacDougall finished first overall with a 10′ 7.5″ broad jump, second overall with a 41.5 inch vertical jump and third overall with a 4.02 shuttle time and a 4.52 40 yard dash. McCall finished third among the defensive backs with 6.71 seconds in the three cone drill and fourth with a 35.5 inch vertical.
While testing numbers are only a part of the overall picture used by teams when making personnel decisions, they serve as an indication of a player’s dedication to conditioning improving his strength. To have so many top performing athletes from one team points to excellent mentoring and an excellent strength and conditioning program, one which coaches at the professional level know they can trust to produce superior athletes. The Huskies’ Strength and Conditioning Coach, Bart Arnold, who also serves as one of the offensive line coaches with Travis Serke, was impressed with the results he saw from Huskie athletes over the weekend.
“I’m extremely happy with the results,” said Arnold following Monday morning’s team practice. “Unfortunately, Ben had a bit of a hip issue and couldn’t do the one-on-ones, but he tested well, near the top of everything. Keenan was lights-out on all his testing. We sort of knew that, and we’ve seen that from Keenan throughout the years. You take his numbers and he would fare very well and be in the top ten percent for the NFL guys because he’s just an amazing athlete.
“David did well at the NIC. Bryce did well, although I’m sure he’d like his 40 to be a little faster. Bryce is a football player and I’m sure the CFL is going to see that and they know there’s more than just running in a straight line for 40 yards.”
The testing results may have been unexpected by many, but Arnold is not among those surprised by the numbers the Huskie athletes put out. “We’ve always thought we had some guys who could test very well compared to anyone in Canada or even the States,” he said. “It would have been nice to see Ben get some one-on-ones, as I think he would have been even more impressive. But the scouts are going to watch the film and see that he’s a football player.”
With the new weight room and training facility attached to the Graham Huskies Clubhouse, the job of Coach Arnold is now easier as he puts training and nutrition programs in place for each player. “The key thing is that we’re in a much better position to monitor who’s doing what,” he said. “I think we’ve always had really good results in the past, but I think this will make a bigger impact for the small percentage of guys who maybe weren’t doing the right things or weren’t doing anything.
“I think the Ben Heenans, the Bryce McCalls and those kind of kids, you could give them a weight room in a garage and they’re going to train hard and do all the right things. It’s some of the other guys, you’re not sure what happens to them. We now have some accountability because we know that if we haven’t seen you in two weeks, we’ll find out what’s going on.
“That’s the biggest change right now. Those guys who will be real good players a year or two from now, let’s make sure they’re doing the right things now.”