YORK UNIVERSITY – Anthony Coombs has been expected to make the transition into a dangerous offensive force earlier than most rookies in the CFL. Coombs recently completed a successful university career with the Manitoba Bison. In that career, he ran for 2,218 yards and 17 touchdowns in addition to 51 receptions for 840 yards and 11TDs. With four games and two starts behind him, Coombs can easily differentiate between success in the CFL and in university football.
“The difference that I find is there’s more complexity to the CFL game,” noted Coombs. “The players are a lot faster and [more] talented.”
Despite these differences, Coombs has a growing understanding of how to overcome them and play at the level required.
“I had to just understand the playbook more, so then I didn’t have to think as much [and] I could play fast. [Because] when you think out there, sometimes you can’t react as fast as you want to.”
As the third overall pick in the 2014 CFL draft, Coombs realizes that there is tremendous pressure on him to succeed. It is easy to observe that much of this pressure comes from head coach Scott Milanovich. Though challenging, Coombs looks at this pressure from his coach as extra motivation to play up to his potential.
“I also look at it as humbling because he has a high expectation for me [and] I also have a high expectation for myself,” said Coombs. “It works well together because he’s on me and I’m on myself at the same time and it allows me to get better.”
Coombs has played impressively so far this season, most recently against the Ottawa Redblacks. He collected 44 receiving yards and 9 rushing yards, totaling 115 receiving yards and 58 rushing yards heading into week 5. However, the pressure on Coombs has intensified due to recent injuries to star players Chad Owens and Andre Durie. The team will therefore look to skilled young players such as Coombs to produce much of the team’s offense in the weeks ahead.
“We got some young guys and we just need to step up and do the best that we can to put ourselves in a position to win, and I’m confident we’ve got the group to do that,” said Coombs.
Despite the disappointing loss against the Redblacks on Friday, the team must continue to utilize their young talent until Owens and Durie are able to return, beginning with Saturday’s re-match against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.