In 3 days, the Huskies will kick off training camp with testing on Thursday, and Huskie Outsider is back with another edition of “Three Downs,” where we offer a primer on what to watch as the Dogs take to the field.
1st down: What positional battle are you most interested in following during camp?
Dallas: As usual, I will be following the offensive linemen closely. After a tumultuous 2011 season, I think this group will be one of the best in the CIS, even with the loss of Ben Heenan. It will be a great competition at tackle between Cam Redl, Drew Digout and Evan Greff, while Lane Bryksa, Craig Woloshyn, Mike Fuller and Clinton Reeder will all battle hard for the right guard position. After a couple lean years, it’s nice to have so much game-ready talent and depth.
Ryan: I would have to agree with Dallas here. The offensive line has the most intriguing story lines heading into camp. With the departures over the past two seasons of Paddy Neufeld, Darren Hinds and Ben Heenan, there is a “changing of the guard” so to speak. Brad Nehring and Jordan Arkko are the only two starters returning from last season. The line will be bolstered by the return of Cam Redl, who missed the entire 2011 campaign due to injury. The other two spots, as Dallas said, look like a fun battle to watch.
Dog Whisperer: The positional battle that catches my eye, and frankly may be
the most critical to the season’s outcome, will be the offensive line.
This is a huge “step up” year for some of those that have been with the
club for a while. The opportunities to play and contribute weekly are
there for the taking with the graduations that took place following last
season. Who is going to take it by the throat and say “I earned it!”? The
team’s motto this season is “Earn Everything,” and I think that there is
no more meaningful application for this motto than on the Oline. Who will be
our tackles this year and who will take charge at guard? Arrko’s
breakout season locks down that spot and Nehring is solid at center.
Everything else is up for grabs and there better be some rabid Dogs
ready to grab those starting spots and shine this year if the team is
going to succeed.
Tom: I agree with all of you. The Oline will be the biggest key to an improved offence this season.
2nd down: Name a player that you’ll be paying particular attention to.
Tom: Brydon Ozmun was the top receiver recruit in Saskatchewan, and among the better high school receivers in Canada. He was limited in spring camp while recovering from a knee injury. He told me, last week, that he is now 100% and ready for camp. I’m interested to see how much of a role he’ll play as a freshman.
Dallas:I will be most interested in how Drew Burko comes along at quarterback. He will certainly benefit from the veterans around him. It will all come down to how quickly he processes information and what kinds of decisions he makes once the ball is snapped.
Ryan: Dallas mentioned Drew Burko, who most people will be watching. I am going to be watching Jahlani Gilbert-Knorren as he moves to receiver. The Huskies moved him there as they wanted to make sure he was on the field as much as possible. He has a bit of a learning curve with the routes that he will run, but he is such a talented athlete that he should be able to make the transition seamlessly. I am also somewhat interested in see how Charlie Power does at receiver after moving to the offence from linebacker.
Dog Whisperer: My attention is always drawn to the lesser known players when
it comes to camp. I’ll be really keeping an eye on Matt Bonaca at QB ,
Braxton Lawrence in the defensive backfield, Devin Logan and Brandon
Stewart at RB and Brayden Twarnyski on DL. Braxton for immediate impact
and the others for how quickly they can adapt to the CIS game and how
soon they will be ready to contribute. As far as returning veterans, I’m
looking forward to seeing Jeremy Andrew at 100%, a healthy Dane Bishop
at LB and Clinton Reeder on the OL.
3rd down: Name a player that you expect will have solid results in Thursday’s testing.
Dog Whisperer: Wow I think it will be a long list but I expect Dexter Janke to
really perform in testing. I also think Luke Thiel has put the work in
and will be a star. Don’t be surprised if Garrett Burgess also makes a
few heads turn.
Tom: Luke Thiel will have a strong day in testing. Zach Hart should put up very good numbers for a lineman. I also think Jahlani is going to show a big improvement over last year, seeing as he spent the summer in Saskatoon in order to take part in his first “Bart U.”
Dallas:I have to think Dexter Janke will turn some heads with his performance after a great offseason of training.
Ryan: This is easy: Luke Thiel. If someone spends more time in the training room in the offseason, I am not sure who that could be (although Dexter Janke is probably close by). Thiel not only works out at the gym, but his summer job is to work at the gym, so he is around the weights all the time. Thiel looks to be a bit faster and stronger than he was last year. He should be fun to watch.
Huskie Outsider will have a full report on Thursday’s test results later this week. You can also expect us to post 1 or 2 “Three Downs” articles each week, all through the season.