It was cold and wet and miserable but at least it was football.
There was a steady rain at Tim Hortons Field for the first day of Ticats’ mini-camp, the sort-of unofficial start of the 2017 CFL season. Things don’t really get going until the end of May when training camp begins in earnest but after 164 days without football, it was nice to see players on the field again.
The Ticats have 46 names on the official roster for mini-camp (it’s posted below) but there are also a number of players here in an unofficial capacity – neg list guys or those here on a tryout basis. They aren’t able to participate in the on-field sessions but will get time before and after practice.
That group includes quarterback Matt Johnson, who was an observer for the on-field sessions, the seven kickers the team has brought to mini-camp. The plan is put this group through their paces over the next few days, then bring the best of them to main camp in May (along with a few others, if necessary.) It’s the same process the Ticats followed last year when Brett Maher was among four kickers at mini-camp before winning the job in June.
Here’s a quick look at the seven (and I’ll have more later.)
Sergio Castillo: originally signed by the Ticats in 2014, spent time with Winnipeg and Ottawa. Now a free agent. Has six games played, 10 of 13 (76.9 per cent) on field goals, 44.6 yard average on 21 punts.
Jordan Gay: played in 33 games over three seasons with Buffalo Bills as kickoff specialist. Released last December.
Pat Clarke: played four seasons with the NCAA’s Buffalo Bulls, graduating in 2015. Has bounced around several indoor and arena leagues.
Josh Techeira: played at Robert Morris of the NAIA from 2012 to 2014.
Zac Crosley: Kicked at Ole Miss and posted video of his Ticats workout.
Craig Peterson: Several years of arena experience and went to training camp with the Ottawa Redblacks in 2014.
Will Gingery: kicked for the Wittenberg Tigers of Division III where he handled both the place kicking and punting duties his senior season. Lots of background on him here.