It’s a long day, and Eric Noivu of the CFL Football Ops department knows that. This year’s CFL combines are his fifth — sixth if you count the one he took part in as a player with Concordia University.
“I can relate to the guys, I understand what a tough long day it can be” said the former defensive end and linebacker. “When we start the day I tell them that. I’m honest with them on how long the day can be and what the scouts are looking for and how everything matters, not just the results but being polite, cleaning up after yourselves and all those little things.”
Forty-two players took part Monday in Edmonton, trying to earn one of the open spots at the CFL National Combine later this month. All the players started the day with basic height, weight and wing span measurements before they moved on to the physical activities. Those included the 40 yard dash, the shuttle and three-cone drill plus positional one-on-one drills.
The results are all recorded but Noivo says the scouts are watching more than just performance.
“This is the biggest job interview of their life for most of these guys,” Noivo said, adding that the more than 40 scouts are watching everything. “They are watching you between drills, maybe you didn’t perform as well as you wanted they are watching your reaction. Are you being polite to all the volunteers? Everything factors in.”
David Turner is the Edmonton Eskimos new director of player personnel and he gave the day a thumbs up.
“It’s been very organized, very detailed.”
After the work outs were completed, three players were invited to the main combine in Toronto March 22-24.
Receiver Shai Ross and defensive lineman Tariq LaChance, both from the University of Manitoba, and University of Calgary running back Jeshrun Antwi will be heading to Toronto.
For the others, a sad day, but by no means the end of the line.
‘”It’s not,” said Turner, who believes one positive interaction or result can get a player invited to a training camp.
“There might be one player that makes a positive impression and then we or some other team is calling them later because of that one positive impression. They have to keep training and keep after it and never give up on the dream”
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The Eastern combine will take place on Wednesday in Montreal and Noivo says he has noticed small differences in results from the west to the east.
“There is a bit of a difference. We see higher numbers on the bench press out west and some faster numbers in Ontario in the 40. We are not talking big huge differences but it’s interesting.”
The Canadian Football League draft will take place May 2.
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