The Bombers scored their first victory of the season on Sunday when the rain stayed away for the first day of training camp.
The club, through an unofficial count, pegged the number of spectators at 7,500. Not sure it was that many, but it was certainly the most I’ve ever seen on opening day in my decade covering the Blue and Gold.
The players didn’t have the pads on, so the workout wasn’t as intense as others no doubt will be, but we got a glimpse of the first-team offences and defences, and a few of the newcomers showed they weren’t going to be intimidated by the veterans.
A few news and notes from Day 1 …
• It was more than just a football practice. The coaches’ wives conducted a bake sale, there was a Rider fan in a dunk tank, and premier Greg Selinger gave a brief address to the crowd. Bombers fans young and old were all over the place. It’s evident that there is a new man in charge of the Bombers this year. There is a new vibe with Garth Buchko at the helm.
• As for the actual football, running back/returner hopeful Chad Simpson showed off his blazing speed, sophomore receiver Kurt Adams made a nice catch, and draft pick Giovanni Aprile had the only interception of the day.
• Safety Brady Browne (hamstring) and running back Carl Volny (knee) didn’t participate in the workout. Head coach Paul LaPolice said Volny, who is coming off knee surgery, is going to need more treatment. That can’t be good.
• Chris Kowalczuk got the first-team reps at centre, while 6-foot-5 Chris Matthews was at Greg Carr’s old spot in the receiving corps.
• The first “fight” of camp featured linebacker Pierre-Luc Labbe and offensive lineman Justin Sorensen. It wasn’t so much a fight as it was a pushing match, but it didn’t take long for the intensity to show up.
• Defensive backs Jonathan Hefney is scheduled to arrive in Winnipeg later today, while Jovon Johnson will get to town on Monday. The Bombers aren’t sure when they’ll be on the field.
• Paul LaPolice’s message to the team on Sunday was 46 and 7, as in the 53 roster spots (46 active and 7 practice roster) that are up for grabs. There were 72 players on the field Sunday.
• Time to get writing. Way more on winnipegsun.com tonight and in Monday’s Sun.