With the official kickoff for the latest chapter in Calgary Dinos football less than one month away, coaches and players return to the field this weekend for the start of fall training camp.
More than 100 players will take the field at McMahon Stadium when camp opens Saturday in the first of 18 practices before their first game action — an Aug. 25 contest with the Saskatchewan Huskies in Saskatoon.
Ninth-year head coach Wayne Harris and his staff are excited to see where this year’s squad is heading in the 59th season of Dinos football.
“We’re looking forward to seeing how our guys respond to the off-season and summer programs. Making sure we’re headed in the right direction,” Harris said. “It’s exciting to see where the guys are at and who has really improved. That’s what you’re looking for is the development of young men — that they continue to get better and get their opportunity. There will be opportunities for guys to move up in roster spots and training camp is the time to battle that out and see where you fit on this year’s roster.”
Coming off a 1-7 record last year, Calgary will be looking to see improvement on the offensive and defensive lines. Both units have been a big part of the program, with 21 linemen selected in the Canadian Football League Draft in the last decade alone. But in 2022, they were hit hard by injuries, forcing some young players into action earlier than expected.
“We need to improve upon both of the lines from last season and I see a big jump in our preparedness there,” Harris said. “Guys have had good off-seasons — getting bigger and stronger, so they should be able to compete at a much higher level than with the number of injuries we had at those two spots last year.”
The Dinos will benefit from the return of Jacob Biggs. Calgary thought they were losing the veteran defensive back to the CFL last spring after he was signed by the Calgary Stampeders, but an untimely injury cut his time in camp short and allowed him to return to campus for his fifth year.
“Having Jacob Biggs return in the defensive backfield is great for our leadership and great for the experience he brings and wealth of knowledge,” Harris said. “He’s been working with some of our younger players. I’m very excited to have Jacob back and returning. It’s unfortunate that he got hurt at rookie camp — we all wanted the best for him and I know he was doing well up to that point.”
The Dinos will kick off the regular season at home against the Alberta Golden Bears on Sept. 1.
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