Elks head coach Jaime Elizondo cancels scrimmage as wildfire smoke looms in Edmonton

The Edmonton Elks were supposed to scrimmage on Saturday, but head coach Jamie Elizondo and his staff decided to cancel the original plans.

Elizondo wants to ensure his team is as healthy as possible when the EE Football Team opens their season on August 7 against the Ottawa Redblacks.

“We made a decision as a staff that we were at the point where we felt good about the first five practices, it’s really kudos to the players for the way that they came out,” Elizondo said.

“We decided that the smart thing to do was to hold back on a scrimmage and delay that, and push that back.”

The Elks have a scrimmage scheduled for Sunday, July 25. By the end of the day Monday, all teams in the three-down league have to trim their rosters to 75 players plus non-counters. Every franchise was allowed to start with 100 players at training camp.

“That’s the tough part. As a coach, you always want to give that extra eval opportunity and see how they respond when the bullets are flying a little bit more. For those players I think that are on the bubble, we have a pretty thorough process on our evals, we grade guys every day, talk about it as a staff, who’s up, who’s down,” Elizondo said.

The weather conditions weren’t ideal for practicing outside at Commonwealth Stadium because there was an air quality warning in Edmonton due to a thick layer of wildfire smoke from the ongoing flames across the provincial border in British Columbia.

“That’s going to be a factor and something that we monitor over the next couple days as well,” Elizondo said.

“Even if we hadn’t cancelled the scrimmage, today’s weather may have forced us inside, which we would’ve cancelled the scrimmage and gone to a walk-through-type format, based on the size of the indoor facility.”

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