Lions ‘want bullies’; Adcock may fit bill

KAMLOOPS — Want to know one of the best ways to get the most out of the largest off-season acquisition by the B.C. Lions this year, and perhaps by extension each of his position group teammates?

Mention to opposing defensive linemen in a game the incorrect pronunciation of Levy Adcock’s given name, because right there you may not only have provided him the proper emotional jet fuel the Lions have been seeking for years but also for some of his offensive line teammates.

And at 6’6” and 325 pounds, you might be wise not to get the man displeased.

So, it’s Lev-ee Adcock.

“Don’t call him Lee-vi,” offensive line coach Dan Dorazio warned about his new right tackle, sounding for all the world as if he had made just such a mistake last season when both were with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. “Don’t go there.”

Ask the 27-year-old Oklahoman about it and it’s pretty clear he’s met more than a few folks who have screwed up his handle. “I’ve been correcting people for 27 years and after awhile you get tired,” Adcock said.

But in having the discussion, it also reveals a bit of aggression that could prove to be highly beneficial to the Lions, not only for what Adcock will bring in pass protection and run blocking off the right side of the formation but for everyone around him, providing he gets the chance to get comfortable in new surroundings.

It’s no secret that for some time the Lions have been seeking a group of players who not only work well together but collectively are more of the fire-breathing variety. It’s no secret because general manager Wally Buono said so.

“We want bullies,” Buono said.

The last pair to play the tackle spots for the Lions who best fit such a description were Rob Murphy and Jason Jimenez, whose aggression often carried right to the conclusion of a play but sometimes a little past the whistle too.

During their time together, the two made it seem as if former centre Angus Reid had grown taller by a couple of inches. Another former stalward lineman, Kelly Bates, admitted he played with a greater swagger when Murphy and Jimenez were alongside.

And Reid, who worked with Dorazio as a guest coach last year with the Roughriders, says that’s exactly what the Lions have in Adcock, providing he can grow on an offensive line where every potential starter is learning a new position together this year.

“I’m telling you, Lev-ee, and never call him Lee-vi, will bring it,” Reid said this week on TSN1040. “He’s a mean guy who wants to pummel you. We brought in Murphy and Jimenez and they just beat up people. And people feed off it. That’s a big thing to have.”

“Murphy was incredible, and that’s an incredible compliment from Angus,” Adcock said in response.

One collective snapshot of the position group since Murphy and Jimenez left is that while they may be technically sound and actually had the stats to match (see below), you didn’t ever imagine them taking a group photo riding motorcycles shotgun listening to ACDC like at least one of their predecessors.

Dorazio says that’s what he’s looking for too, minus the illegal Jimenez blocks and Murphy ready to cold-cock opponents by pinning them with one arm to the turf, much as he did during one memorable Lions road game in Saskatchewan long before Adcock’s arrival.

“The guys who don’t have it, you fire. You don’t want them,” said Dorazio, who clearly began warming to the topic. “You need tough guys big guys to win a Grey Cup. The Murphys, Jimenez, Bates, (Sherko Haji-Rasouli). They won Grey Cups, OK? The guys that are soft mentally, they win four or five games a year.”

Adcock, it should be noted, was a model citizen during his two seasons in Saskatchewan plus his days as a all-America selection at Oklahoma State, and said he only wants to bring what every lineman in the league wants to contribute.

“Our goal is to be the most physical group in the league,” Adcock said.

But to hear the man in charge, the Lions seek more, and Buono had no trouble singling out his holdover starters, Jovan Olafioye, Hunter Steward and Kirby Fabien, in the hope he’ll get what he wants this season.

When he was first asked about Adcock, Buono first thought he was getting Ben Archibald, who was technically sound at tackle during his years with the Lions and Calgary Stampeders but a devout Mormon not likely ever to be spotted at a Kiss concert. Buono’s coming around on Adcock now.

“I’m starting to I can see why Dan pushed for us to sign him,” Buono said. “Sometimes it takes time to get comfortable.”

Sometimes you might only have to mispronounce a guy’s first name.

LIONS TALES: Buono called off his first practice of camp Thursday morning, not as a reward for grinding through two-a-day sessions but partly out of concern of injuries. Second-year receiver Geraldo Boldewijn, arguably the most improved player in his first camp after being signed last year, suffered a strained hamstring Wednesday and was the most serious though Buono hopes he’ll be ready by the first pre-season game… OL Brett Boyko, the 2015 Lions draft who told the club he was going to continue to pursue free agent NFL options, signed with the San Diego Chargers Wednesday.

Positional breakdown

Offensive line

Returning 2015 starters: Jovan Olafioye, Hunter Steward, Kirby Fabien

Returning backups: Cody Husband, T-Dre Player

New on view: Levy Adcock (Saskatchewan, CFL)_ Jaz Dhillon (Toronto, CFL), Tim O’Neill (Hamilton, CFL), Charles Vaillancourt (Laval), Dillon Guy (Buffalo), Antonio Johnson (North Texas), Rogers Gaines (Tennessee State), Micah Hatchie (Washington).

The breakdown: The surface evidence might suggest that with three returning starters there’s not much change happening and a key stat might provide a clue. Often overlooked about last year’s group was that it was within one sack of surrendering the fewest in the CFL last year.

But the change is, however, going to be massive, both in name and size. It starts with Olafioye switching sides to play left tackle, replaced by Adcock. The non-import interior will be almost all new. Steward is adjusting to a new position at left guard. O’Neill can play both centre and guard and the Lions are spending considerable time in camp to determine in Husband can do the same. Vaillancourt and Guy represent the future. Player and Dillon may have run out of chances. B.C. can arguably only carry two Canadian backups at most. Johnson, Gaines and Hatchie are battling for a practice roster spot.


Lowell Ullrich has covered the Lions since 1999 and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2014. He is also a contributor to TSN1040.