Dinos back on the field Wednesday for Spring Camp

CALGARY – For the first time since the Vanier Cup on Nov. 23 in Quebec City, the University of Calgary Dinos will return to the football fieldnext Wednesday for their annual Spring Camp.

With installation of the new turf ongoing at McMahon Stadium, the Dinos will make Shouldice Park their temporary home from April 30 through May 4. Sessions will run Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday at Hellard Field, with Saturday’s practice set for Stampeder Field. The weekend will culminate with the annual Red-White Scrimmage on Sunday, May 4 at 2 p.m.

A total of 93 players are on the roster for the six-time defending Canada West champions, with the bulk of last year’s squad returning after posting the school’s first-ever 8-0 regular season on the field. Conference MVP Mercer Timmis will lead the offence, but the big story will be at quarterback where the last two conference all-stars at the position, Andrew Buckley (2013) and Eric Dzwilewski (2012), will battle it out for the starting spot.

“The obvious first situation is at quarterback,” said Calgary Head Coach Blake Nill. “It’s going to be a very interesting scenario how it plays out. Buckley will start, but Eric will be ‘1-A.’ We as coaches will make sure they’re evaluated as closely as possible, and then as coaches we just need to use our skills to make a decision when the time comes.

“The other area that I see as an interesting positional group is the defensive line – not necessarily because of the players involved, but I thought that as a group they’ve had a very good off-season and I’m looking forward to seeing how their improvement and their effort in the weight room transitions to their performance on the field.”

Under CIS rules, high school players from within the boundaries of Canada West are allowed to participate in spring training camps, so Dinos fans will get their first look at Nill’s 2014 recruiting class next week.

“The recruiting this year won’t have the same immediate impact as we have seen in the past,” said Nill. “We have a couple of kids coming in who may challenge to be on the field next year. Micah Teitz is kind of kid who drew a lot of attention, and we were lucky enough to convince him to come to Calgary. He may push to compete in his first year.”

Teitz, a linebacker, was defensive MVP of the Football Canada Cup in 2013 after leading Team Alberta on that side of the ball. He joins the Dinos out of Springbank Community High School.

Nill pointed to defensive line recruit Joel Van Pelt out of Lethbridge’s Sir Winston Churchill High School as another possible challenger for a position directly from high school.

Nill, the 2013 Canada West coach of the year after leading one of the youngest teams in the nation all the way to the Vanier Cup, begins his ninth season patrolling the sidelines at the University of Calgary this fall.

Fall training camp will open Friday, Aug. 22, two weeks ahead of the team’s season-opener on Friday, Sept. 5 against Alberta at McMahon Stadium. The Dinos will also play home dates Sept. 26 against Manitoba, Oct. 4 against Regina, and Oct. 25 against UBC as they search for their seventh straight conference title.

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