March 22, 2024

Assistant GM’s CFL Combine notebook

Combine Week is a critical part of the CFL off-season. It gives talent evaluators across the league an opportunity to evaluate the incoming Canadian talent. This year, Alouettes assistant general manager Pier-Yves Lavergne allowed us to publish his Combine notebook from Winnipeg. Enjoy!

Day 2 – Thursday, March 21st:

Thursday was a huge day. It was a very long day.

I woke up at 5:30 am to go work out with Byron Archambault. Danny Maciocia, Jason Maas, Archambault, Eric Deslauriers, Noel Thorpe, Greg Quick and I met as a group at 8:00 am, which was 30 minutes before the start of our prospect interviews.

These are rapid-fire interviews that last about 15 minutes. We spoke to different players until about 11:30 am.

Testing started at 2:00 pm and lasted until about 5:30 pm at the hotel. The players went through the bench press and the vertical jump during that time. It’s tough for these players because they have to perform in front of a room full of people just staring at you doing these exercises.

By watching these two events, you see who is ready to compete and who prepared well enough.

The importance of the bench press will vary by position. Let’s use the offensive line as an example. An offensive lineman who puts up a disappointing number on the bench will have his stock impacted more than a defensive back with a poor number because of the nature of the positions.

At 7:00 pm, we jumped on the shuttle bus which brought us to the field house for the on-field testing. We watched guys perform in the three-cone drill, the shuttle, the 40-yard dash, and the broad jump. That went on until about 9:30 pm.

Everyone is amazed by the numbers during the 40-yard dash, but one thing you don’t see is each player’s running form. For some guys, it’s not natural to run that long of a distance. They either have short strides or poor form, and that tells you a lot about his athleticism. You’re always looking for the best athlete. The running form will tell you about his overall athleticism. You can tell a lot about the way these guys move.

We jumped on the shuttle again and got back to the hotel at about 10:15 pm. I took 30 minutes to relax before getting to bed.

More on-field testing will take place tomorrow!

Day 1 – Wednesday, March 20th:

Byron Archambault, Eric Deslauriers, Noel Thorpe, Greg Quick took off for Winnipeg on Wednesday morning. Our flight left Trudeau Airport at 7 am, which meant that I had to be up at around 3:30 am. We had a connecting flight in Toronto, and eventually landed in Winnipeg at around 12:30 EST.

Our head coach Jason Maas and our general manager Danny Maciocia were already in Winnipeg because they took part in league meetings earlier in the week.

We all met up, got some food together, and discussed what was going to happen at the Combine over the next few days. We made sure that everyone knew their respective assignments and we talked about some of the players that we’ll be keeping an eye on.

The day concluded with an official weigh-in for the prospects. That allowed us to see each player’s body type and body composition. Their height and weight are measured so that we can get precise numbers before they start doing their testing.

You might be asking yourself what specifically we look for during a weigh-in? It depends on the position. For an offensive lineman for example, we look for the balance between the upper and lower body. Football is a contact sport, so you want someone with a good base and strong legs, but because of the nature of the position, you need somebody who is going to have upper-body strength as well.

We regrouped Wednesday night for dinner. It was Eric Deslauriers’ birthday, so we all went out for steak!

That’s it for Day 1! Come back to check out Day 2 tomorrow.