Toronto – Next Man Up is a cliché often used in professional sports. In football it’s a fact of life. Injuries are often and players must always be ready to step in when a teammate goes down.
So is the case with Argo receiver Kenny Shaw. A back injury to second year receiver Diontae Spencer saw him placed on the 6-game injured list which in turn opened the door for the former Florida St. Seminole to step in. And in the CFL Season Opener at the new BMO Field the 24 year old receiver literally took the ball and ran with it.
In a game that didn’t have many positives in terms of on field play Kenny Shaw christened BMO Field with a team leading 7 receptions and 109 yard game.
Ricky and I have been able to develop some quick chemistry during practice so as the game went on I just kept hearing my number being called and was fortunate to execute.
But for Shaw that performance is already a distant memory.
I try and treat every day every practice and every game as hard as I possibly can. Even when I was on the practice roster I tried to push myself and my teammates as hard as I could.
The practice roster can be a frustrating place for a football player. You’re on the team but not really. You get to practice with the guys’ but of course you don’t get to play. For an American player it can be twice as tough. The pressure to perform at a high level is extreme all the while trying to learn a game very different from the one you grew up playing back home. To spend an entire season, like Shaw did in 2015, would be tough for anyone else. And while he admitted there was little fun involved he was able to find a light at the end of the tunnel.
The only positive about spending time on the practice roster for me was seeing all these other guys coming and going and thinking I must be doing something right because I’m still here.
What he was doing was getting comfortable with the Double Blue’s offensive scheme. The Argonauts are deep at Wide Receiver and there really isn’t a single stand out or go to guy. It’s an offense with Ricky Ray at the helm based on progression, reads and timing. Under Coach Milanovich you can do your job but not get the ball but if you don’t know the scheme you can quickly find your way on the sidelines.
Whether it was rookie camp in Florida or training camp in Guelph as my knowledge of the playbook grew my confidence grew as well. And now I’m just thinking about the next game and building on what I started.
If the second year receiver can improve on 7 and 109 you would have to believe it will be a night in Saskatchewan he will never forget. And for the team their first win of 2016.
Written by: Anthony Ciardulli
follow Anthony on twitter @comicanthony