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The pads were back on at Rider Training Camp

Riders head coach Corey Mace had his troops back in pads at practice today, getting ready for their game in Edmonton.

SASKATOON - Another cool morning greeted the players as they jogged out onto the turf at Griffiths Stadium on Thursday morning. 

Upon entering the field, the team went straight into some special team informal work. 

After the brief warm-up, the Riders broke off into separate offensive and defensive walk-thru. 

Once the walk-thru was complete, the team went through their daily stretching regimen under the direction of Strength and Conditioning Coach Dan Farthing. 

Next on the practice schedule was an individual positional period. 

Once those drills were complete, the Riders went into a special teams period. 

There was a heightened focus on kick-off return and coverage throughout that portion of practice. 

The teams again broke out into their offensive and defensive groupings for more play-book installation and reinforcement through a walk-thru period.

After the extended offensive and defensive session, the team took a break to put on their pads and rehydrate for the second half of the session.

Following the break, the team again split into offensive and defensive groups with pads for a walk-thru period. 

Following a whistle blast, the team went into their mid-workout stretch and activation period. 

After the warm-up session, the positional groups were reassembled to run through individual skill development drills. 

Next up, it was a team battle. The breakdown:

- Shea Patterson starts at Quarterback. Play one fake hand-off and complete the pass inside slant to KeeSean Johnson. 

- Patterson is then complete on the far side to Jerrith Sterns.

- Patterson looks to the near side this time and finds Johnson again. 

-The next play is a hand-off to A.J. Oullette. He steps left and cuts right for a nice gain. 

- Johnson hauls in another reception on the near side on the next play.

- Hand-off up the middle on first down to Oullette. 

- Second and long Patterson on a roll out to his right spots Oullette downfield close to a first down. 

- Patterson goes under centre to sneak ahead for the first down. 

-The second group comes in. Trevor Harris hands off to Frankie Hickson but is met in the backfield by Tre' Crawford.

- Hand-off again on the next play with Diego Fagot making the stop in the backfield. 

Mason Fine enters the play and hands the ball off to Hickson. He is met in the middle by newcomer Nicaro Harper. Shoving follows the play, but the players quickly break it up. 

- Fine hands the ball off to Oullette but is stopped by Christian Albright almost immediately. 

- Quarterback Jack Coan leads out the next offensive group. He hands off to Oullette, who runs into T.J. Brunson after a gain of almost five. 

- Coan hands off again, but Oullette is stopped after a short gain. 

- Pipken, on first down, comes on and spots the blitz and then finds C.J. Avery out of the backfield for a nice gain. 

- Another handoff on the second down that is stopped after a yard. 

The team's period would conclude with the players breaking into positional battles. The linemen would battle one another in the North end zone. In the middle of the field, there was a seven-on-seven drill with receivers and defensive backs. The offensive breakdown:

- Harris passes far side flat complete to A.J. Allen.

- Harris then finds Mitchell Picton on a deep slant for a nice gain. 

- Jack Coan comes in to throw over the middle, but C.J. Coldon steps in front for the intended target, Geronimo Allison, for an interception.

- Jack Coan passes complete on the far side to Dhonte Meyers. 

- Mason Fine in to lead the offence and finds Geronimo Allison complete.

- Fine, then throws over the middle for KeeSean Johnson 

- Pipken comes in and attempts a pass for Ajou Ajou, but Kosi Onyeka breaks it up. 

- Eli Hettlinger comes in and completes his only pass to Mario Alford, bringing that portion of practice to a close. 

Next up, it was back into punt team drills. 

Following the punt, it was on to kick-offs. 

After the special teams work, it was back into the battle of the teams. The rundown:

- Antonio Pipkin at Quarterback. Screen pass complete to KeeSean Johnson. 

- Play-action pass on the next play. Pipken intended for Geronimo Allison. Rolan Milligan Junior steps in front of the pass and intercepts the ball—very athletic play.

- Pipkin airs it out again this time complete to Dhonte Meyers. 

- Mason Fine comes onto the field. He hands the ball off to A.J. Oullette. 

- Handoff on the next play to Thomas Bertrand-Hudon. 

- Fine's pass attempt on the next play is knocked down at the line of scrimmage by Malik Carney. 

- Jack Coan comes in and hands the ball off to Thomas Bertrand-Hudon.

The next play is a run play for a long scamper. 

- Patterson comes in and throws complete on the far side to Morgan Runge. 


And that's the end of the session.


Today's Weather:

When the players took to the field on Thursday morning, the skies were overcast, and there was a chill in the air. The temperature was a cool 4 degrees Celsius. The forecast for the day was for a Mix of Sun and Clouds with a High of 10. 


Not on the field:

DL – R.J. McIntosh

DL – Anthony Lanier II

LB – Nick Weibe

D.B. – Jaxson Ford

REC – D'Sean Mimbs

REC – Jake Parker 

REC – Dehl Duncan-Busby

REC – Shawn Bane Junior


Break-out Play of the Day:

On the final play of the team's padded period, University of Alberta Quarterback Eli Hetlinger, who is in camp for the CFL's Canadian Q.B. internship, was given a rare opportunity to direct the offence. He came in, and in his lone pass attempt, he found Mario Alford streaking across the middle for a completed pass. The enthusiasm from his teammates was evident as the group swarmed him after the completion. 


The One to Watch:

Dhonte Meyers has been making an impression on both special teams and the receiving core. His punt return, albeit called back due to a penalty, was a highlight in Monday's win over Winnipeg, and his precise route running has made him a frequent target in teams' periods. 

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