May 20, 2024

Day 9 training camp notebook: White Jr. working way back from injury; Sénécal’s internship

Reggie White (84), Photo: Pascal Ratthe

After staying off the field on Sunday, the Alouettes were back at practice in the scorching heat in Saint-Jerome today. The double session began at 8:30 am and wrapped up at 12:30 pm at the Complex sportif Claude-Beaulieu.

The Als will play their first season game on Saturday night against the Toronto Argonauts at Percival Molson Stadium. That will be receiver Reggie White Jr.’s first game action since he tore his ACL, LCL and PCL in his right knee in Oct. of 2022.

White Jr. practiced with the team late in the season, but last Saturday’s scrimmage was the first live game action he has participated in since suffering the injury.

“There was definitely a little bit of nerves,” he said after practice on Monday. “It was my first time in game action, because scrimmages are way different than practice…After I got my first catch, the nerves kind of went away.”

There’s obviously a physical challenge that comes with rehabbing a major knee injury but there’s also a mental struggle that needs to be addressed. A player needs to regain trust in a knee that has been surgically repaired.

“When I came back last year and started practicing, it definitely played a part,” the 28-year-old admitted. “I was kind of second-guessing jumping and landing on it and stuff, but I haven’t really thought about it since camp.”

In his first two seasons in the CFL, the Baltimore, Maryland native played as an inside receiver for the Alouettes, but he’s been competing for a starting spot as an outside receiver with newcomer Tevin Jones. White Jr. has had the benefit of using the waggle when playing inside. On the outside, he won’t have that running start.

“It’s a lot different and I’m still adjusting,” he said. “Since I’ve been up here, I’ve had the waggle. It’s a little bit funny, like going back to college, when you’re up on the line (of scrimmage). It’s taking some time to adjust, but I feel like I’m getting it down. I’m just trying to focus on the plays and then when the ball comes my way, I just want to make a play.”

As part of the Canadian Quarterback Internship Program, every CFL team can bring one USports quarterback to training camp. This year, Montreal Carabins pivot Jonathan Sénécal is attending Als camp. Since the beginning of camp, including on Monday, he’s been able to show off his arm talent. The 24-year-old has a strong arm, and he has good touch on the deep ball.

Caleb Evans (5), Cody Fajardo (7), Jonathan Senecal (2), Photo: Pascal Ratthe

“He spins that rock,” offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Anthony Calvillo said of Sénécal. “When you see a quarterback throw, you know he has ability. Even when we’re watching film, and we’re looking at the one-on-ones, we’re saying: ‘that’s a great throw,’ and we realize that’s Senecal. He’s so comfortable right now.”

Sénécal will return to the Carabins, as they’ll look to defend their Vanier Cup title in 2024. After this upcoming USports campaign, he’ll be eligible for the CFL Draft.

The fact that he’s being coached by CFL coaches and former quarterbacks like Jason Maas and Anthony Calvillo should help take his game to another level.

“Over six days, I’ve never seen so many plays in one playbook,” the Montreal native said. “These are plays that are relatively complex, but it pushes me to be better. I may be able to execute it on the field, but sometimes I notice that I have to put some extra work in the film room.”

The Alouettes added four players to their roster on Monday:

American defensive lineman Aaron Lynch
American defensive lineman Jordan Domineck
American offensive lineman Donald Ventrelli
Canadian receiver Nicholas Gendron

The Alouettes also cut four players on Monday:

American linebacker Christian Morgan
American defensive end Justin Ademilola
American defensive end Jacorey Johns
Canadian offensive lineman Matthew Hajewich

The Alouettes will be back on the practice field on Tuesday morning at 8:35 am in Saint-Jerome.