Emotions ran high and then boiled over at Roughriders training camp Tuesday morning.
Tempers flared up during one-on-one matchups between the defensive backs and receivers and spilled over into the scrimmages. Among the players most fired up were defensive back Ed Gainey and receiver John Chiles, but teammate Terrance Cobb said the scraps were nothing to worry about.
“I look at it like a sibling thing, you know as you’re with your brothers and sisters in the house, as the time goes things kinda heat up a little bit,” he said with a laugh after practice.
“It’s the second week of camp,” Levi Steinhauer added. “We’re kind of getting sick of each other, we’re getting into it, we’re getting tired, we’re getting sore. The small things quickly escalate at this point.”
In fact, quarterbacks coach Jarious Jackson said he was surprised it took as long as it did – 10 days – for camp’s first fight.
“That intensity and that high level of competition, we want that every single day, but the end of it guys have to be smart,” Jackson said.
That means being smart about injuries and smart about what they’re willing to give up to the other team. After four or five on-field kerfluffles, head coach Chris Jones called all the players into a huddle and reminded them what’s important: winning football games.
“If you can let a guy get under your skin and all of the sudden you’ve got a 15 yard penalty, nine times out of 10 you are putting points on the board for the other team,” Jackson said.
“We don’t try to be the other team’s best players. We want to make them earn everything they get against us,” he added.
The intensity has brewing all week, according to Rob Bagg, who said things will be a lot better once they aren’t hitting each other anymore.
“The guys are going hard and lots of talented players are trying to make the football team,” he said. “(We’re) getting to the point where we’re sick of hitting each other, and I think B.C. is going to be a real fun treat – to go against somebody different.”
The Roughriders square off against the B.C. Lions on Saturday evening. Game time is 7 p.m. at Mosaic Stadium.