Huskies Wrap-Up Camp With Game Action

The University of Saskatchewan Huskies spring camp wrapped up with a spirited full-scrimmage yesterday morning at Griffiths Stadium. In the End the Kyle Siemens-lead-Team Green topped the Drew Burko-lead-team White 24-16.

Veteran running backs Jarvis James and Tyler Chow each scampered into the end zone for majors while Freshman running back Kaedon Armstrong also broke the plain.

Defensively the group was challenged through the work-outs to get faster and sophomore linebacker Eric Thakurdeen did that with a fumble recovery touchdown in the fourth Quarter.

The game was the conclusion of the team’s five work-outs in four days.

Through those four days some veterans showed that they are ready to take on a bigger role in 2016, while some new recruits showed that they will be pressing for playing time throughout the season.

While broadcasting the game on Sunday I had the opportunity to sit next to Head Coach Brian Towriss who provided great commentary and insight throughout the opening half. Here is a summary of some of his thoughts: (you can hear his wrap up comments, as well as from Kyle Siemens and Eric Thakurdeen by clicking here.)

BT on Offence:

Running backs – BT liked what he saw from veterans Tyler Chow and Jarvis James throughout the camp and during the scrimmage. However, the change of pace provided by newcomer Colton Klassen was very welcome. The Saskatoon native who, played was an All-Canadian with the Regina Thunder a year-ago, is a North South runner with good hands that likes to play the physical game.

O-Line – Depth, depth and more depth. Coach Towriss says that there are 7 or 8 players that are ready to start this year which is a good problem to have. He says invariably you will need that many o-linemen to get through a season. He added that the depth with the athletes that he has is something he hasn’t been afforded in a couple of years.

Receivers – This group will definitely miss the likes of John Trumpy, Tevin Godfrey, Jeremy Long and Steven Boryski. However, the new recruits lead by Hilltop grad Chad Braun didn’t look out of place at all. Sprinkle in veterans Mitch Hillis, Julan Lynch, and Yol Piok and the group once again could be the strength of the team.

Quarterbacks – Well this is where it gets interesting. Kyle Siemens took over the starting job from Drew Burko late in 2015 and it seemed to be up in the air as to who would have the reigns of the offence heading into 2016. However, the majority of the number one reps were taken by Siemens and if you listen to him speak, here, he definitely sounds like he will be under centre to start the season Sept 2 vs. Regina.

BT on Defense:

D-Line – This group really impressed. They appeared faster and more physical than last year. New recruit Matt Kozun from the Hilltops had an impact during 1 on 1 drills and during the scrimmage while a number of vets stepped up and showed well, according to B-T.

Secondary – The question that still may need to be answered is, “who plays safety?” Coach Towriss liked what he saw from the group (that surrendered the second most passing yards per game in the country last year). There are going to be some decisions that need to be made but the DBs are determined to get faster this year.

Linebackers – Towriss pointed out that there are a number of battles within this group that will need to be settled. He pointed out that the team has lost all three starting linebackers from a year ago due to graduation. That leaves the door open for players like Justin Filteau, who didn’t play as he still is recovering from ACL reconstruction, and Erik Thakurdeen who was a force in stopping the run game late in the scrimmage and even added a scoop and score for good measure.

B-T on Special Teams:

First and foremost B-T acknowledged that they didn’t spend a lot of time on special teams. However, with the wind at his back kicker Sean Stenger had the crowd buzzing as he connected on field goals of 45 and 50 yards in the scrimmage. Towriss mentioned that he has the tools he just needs to put it all together after having consistency issues in 2015.

With all of that being said I think the Huskies may surprise a few people around Canada West this year. Additionally, as B-T mentioned they have a good schedule to work with this year which could lead to some big things.