OAKVILLE – Toronto Argonauts head coach Scott Milanovich is giving his rookies the veteran treatment – at least, in terms of conducting practice. On Wednesday afternoon, the defending Grey Cup champions opened their three-day rookie and quarterbacks mini-camp at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Oakville, Ontario.
A contingent of 43 players, including four quarterbacks, took part in the high-intensity, fast paced practice. Argonauts veterans do not report for camp until Saturday, but Milanovich has already implemented his traditional practice routines in this week’s mini-camp.
“These guys are getting the first three days of the veteran camp. It’s the same thing so they’ll get it now, they got it in the (Bradenton, Florida) mini-camp, and they’ll get it again when the vets come in,” commented Milanovich in a post practice interview with Argos TV. “It is the stuff that Ricky and Chad are going to get offensively, and the same thing defensively.”
Rookies and quarterbacks will practice for the remainder of the week prior to beginning two-a-day practices on Sunday. Milanovich believes that these practices will provide rookies with a good sense of what to expect when training camp officially kicks off this weekend.
“We throw a lot at them but that’s why we have that camp down in Bradenton and that’s why we have this rookie camp. It’s to give these guys a chance mentally to line up and compete,” said Milanovich. “We’re just trying to get them into a position where they can compete when Sunday comes around and they can get ready.”
As with any annual rookie mini-camp, roster moves will inevitably be made prior to beginning the team’s full-fledged training camp schedule this weekend.
“Most of them”, stated Milanovich when asked how many rookies he expects to have in training camp. “Not all of them but they know that. They were told that in the first meeting but a lot of these guys will be there on Sunday.”
At last year’s rookie mini-camp, wide receiver Dontrelle Inman soared up the Argonauts depth chart with an impressive performance. Inman’s strong play continued when the veterans arrived and ultimately earned him a spot on the Argonauts roster. Based on last year’s experience with Inman, Milanovich is confident that someone will emerge from this year’s camp and assume a larger role than originally expected.
“Who’s going to be the Dontrelle Inman this year; a kind of unheralded rookie that comes in and just plays super well to earn a spot? I think we got someone here that is going to be able to do that,” commented Milanovich.
As for the rookie’s performance on Day One of mini-camp, it’s fair to say that Milanovich was not very impressed. If the rookies want to earn a spot on the Argonauts training camp roster, Milanovich affirms that they will definitely have to improve upon Wednesday’s showing.
“It was not up to standards today and that’s what I told them after practice but some of that is to be expected. They haven’t been around how we operate in a normal, regular training camp or regular season practice. I told them they got to get better and they’ll be enlightened come Sunday.”