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Veteran OLinemen upbeat about 2012

During, and immediately following, spring camp, Huskie Outsider spoke with offensive line coaches Travis Serke and Bart Arnold about the potential of the Dogs’ OLine in 2012 and beyond. We also wanted to give readers a chance to hear from some members of that unit as well, and Cam Redl, Brad Nehring, and Craig Woloshyn each spent a few minutes with Huskie Outsider following camp. Among these 3 players you have an accomplished veteran returning to action after missing a year to injury, an established starter from the 2011 team, and a player who is hoping to make an impact in his final year of eligibility.

Cam Redl (#47) will be a welcome sight back along the offensive line this season (photo Steve Hiscock for Liam Richards Photography)

Tackle, Cam Redl, teamed with Ben Heenan to form a dominant right side of the offensive line in 2009 and 2010. He also played for Team World in 2010, in a game vs. U.S.A. But injury reared its ugly head in a home victory against the Calgary Dinos, and Redl retook the field for the first time at Spring Camp 2012. “It felt good to be back on the field,” Cam remarked following spring scrimmage. “I’ve been away for awhile, and it felt good to be back in pads and hitting guys again. It also felt good to see everyone again – I’ve missed the camaraderie.” Most pressing to Huskie fans is if Redl’s knee is back to 100%. “It’s pretty close,” he answered. “It feels weird to anyone, for a little while, coming off A.C.L. reconstruction. Even if you have the strength and stability back, it takes some time for it to feel natural again. I’m in the last few stages of it feeling normal.” Cam was asked how much of this process is having confidence in the knee again. “That’s the whole thing,” he replied. “The strength is there; it’s just about getting that confidence back and knowing how far you can push it.” Redl will be working for Football Saskatchewan during the summer. “I’ll be helping out with football camps and other activities around the city. It will give me lots of time for training as well. My goal for the summer is to put a bit of weight back on and get a bit stronger.”

Centre, Brad Nehring, started all 9 games for the Huskies last season. Entering only his 3rd year of eligibility, he is now one of the veteran members of the offensive line. He spoke to Huskie Outsider about how the line performed during the recent spring camp. “It was a little slow getting our cohesion together, but as camp progressed we got better. Different guys were filling in at different positions, and there were a lot of reps for the young guys.” Nehring was also upbeat about the prospects for this OLine in the 2012. “I expect we’ll be a stronger unit this year. We have Redl back. I know that guys like Lane Bryksa and Craig (Woloshyn) can step up. They’ve both learned the offense. There’s others too. Jordan Arkko and myself are both a year more experienced. I think we’re ahead of where we were last year.”

During spring camp, Coach Travis Serke spoke glowingly of the progress that Craig Woloshyn has made since his transition from defensive tackle to offensive guard. Camp observers noticed that Woloshyn was given the most reps in 1 on 1 drills vs. the DLine, as coaches gauged whether he is ready to step into a more prominent role along the line. “The more reps I get, the better I’ll be as a football player,” Woloshyn commented. “I feel like I’m finally hitting my groove since my move from the defensive line. I’m taking the aggressive DLineman that I was and switching it over to OLine.” Craig has the luxury of having a valuable mentor, in former Huskie and C.F.L. player, Kevin Lefsrud, work with him and impart his wisdom over the summer. “He was going to join us for our spring scrimmage, but the weather interfered with those plans. He’s been a big help. Having a guy who has been in C.F.L., and won Grey Cups, is invaluable. He’s always right around the corner and willing to help. We do a lot of training together.”

The performance of the offensive line will be key for the Huskies to have a successful season in 2012. There should be quite a competition during fall camp for some starting positions and spots on the travelling roster.  A strong summer of training may just give some players the edge that they need.  We hope to get a few updates during the summer regarding how training is progressing.