Alfieri’s Day 6 training camp notebook: Offence is coming together

We’re six days into training camp which means that we’re one day away from the team scrimmage, which is coming up on Saturday at 4:30pm at Stade Diablos in Trois-Rivieres.

The offence has looked good since the start of camp, but they’ve looked even sharper over the last few days. Quarterback Cody Fajardo has looked confident distributing the ball to his receivers, and he’s also been able to make plays with his feet.

The fact that the offence continues to improve isn’t a surprise, as it’s the first time many of these players have played in head coach Jason Maas’ system.

“We just want consistency,” Maas said. “What people don’t realize with pro football, with training camp in particular with us, we have about six installs that we do, at least right now. That’s like six game plans. Usually, when you game plan, you install a little bit at a time and then you get the whole week to learn it and some of it is carryover and you have also had a full training camp to learn it, and then you go into the season. Right now, it’s full install every other day. Sometimes, they’re two days in a row. That’s 45 new plays these guys are learning.”

All of the receivers are new to Fajardo because this is his first season in Montreal, but there are also faces that are new to the league that are trying to prove themselves every day.

Since the start of training camp, CFL rookies like Keshunn Abram, Austin Mack, Tyler Snead and Trevon Clark have all made their way into the rotation with the starting offence. Others like Tyshaun James and Quartney Davis have all made big plays in practice.

Making plays is obviously important, but learning in the classroom and applying those lessons to the field is what allows players to stand out.

“What you want to see is that there’s an ability to take it from the classroom, take it out here, and still be up to speed,” added Maas. “As long as we can be consistent in seeing progress with that, particularly with some of the older concepts, that’s what you want to see. With the new stuff, we know they’re going to mess up. It’s all about learning and adapting, and not making the same mistake twice. On top of that, we want a great attitude because this stuff isn’t going to be easy. We don’t want to see guys that get frustrated.”

New players at practice:

There were two receivers at practice today, as the club signed John Brunner (Western Illinois) and James Letcher Jr. (Washburn).

Brunner, who is wearing number 79, is a bigger body (6-foot-3, 200 pounds). Letcher, who is wearing number 89, is smaller (5-foot-8, 175 pounds), but he’s quick and shifty. He also contributed on special teams on his first day of training camp as a punt returner.

Both players should be on the field during Saturday’s scrimmage, which is free and open to the public.