Canadian QB Michael O’Connor provided ‘exciting moments’ for Argos in CFL debut

Michael O’Connor kept the football from his first career touchdown pass in the CFL.

The 23-year-old has been working behind the scenes since being selected by the Toronto Argos.

“I found my stride really Week 10, Week 12 I was comfortable with the offence, seeing what defences were playing and just getting into my routine. By then I was about ready to go,” O’Connor said.

After seeing action in the pre-season, O’Connor was 5-of-7 for 41 yards with one touchdown and one interception in limited reps, it was 20 weeks in between live snaps. McLeod Bethel-Thompson and James Franklin have split starting every game for the Argos in 2019.

“That’s just part of the professional business. Definitely difficult without the live reps, but I do think that’s where the mental preparation comes in and making sure you’re staying sharp, you’re in the game plan every singe week just like you were playing,” O’Connor said.

“So when the opportunity comes, it’s just business as usual. Obviously you’d like more live reps but that just doesn’t happen at this level.”

Former Penn State University head coach Bill O’Brien, who spent time as Tom Brady’s quarterback’s coach and offensive coordinator with the New England Patriots, recruited O’Connor and wanted him to play in his pro-style offence. But before O’Connor arrived on campus, O’Brien left the Nittany Lions to accept the Houston Texans head coaching job.

James Franklin took over as head coach and despite O’Connor going 11-for-16 for 81 yards in Penn State’s spring game, he redshirted in 2014 and then transferred to the University of British Columbia. Year one with the Thunderbirds saw O’Connor light up defences while leading the team to a National Championship in 2015.

“He’s very mature. The way he carries himself, he’s good in the locker room around the guys. I saw him coming back off the field, he has a good look in his eye like he’s thinking about the next play,” head coach Corey Chamblin said.

There were some exciting moments when he was in the game.”

Chamblin stated the plan is to play O’Connor more in the Argos’ final game of the 2019 season against Hamilton.

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