The Carillon - ONLINE EDITION
By: Terry Frey
Posted: 08/21/2018 11:31 AM
Steinbach’s Eric Adams was one of the leading receivers the last couple of seasons in the Winnipeg High School Football League with the SRSS Sabres.
The diminutive receiver is about to take a big step forward in his young football career as he is currently attending the University of Manitoba Bisons football camp, and in fact has already made the team.
Last week at Investors Group Field at the U of M, home field of the Bisons (not to mention the Winnipeg Blue Bombers) Adams was of only four rookies, and 17 receivers in all, going through a series of workouts as part of the three-week camp in preparation for the upcoming university season.
Realistically, Adams will likely red shirt with the Bisons this season, meaning he will practice with the team through the season at home, but will not be on the game day roster and will not travel with the team. But essentially is a part of the team in every other respect.
It is often the normal process for rookie players as they get their feet wet, so to speak, in university ball. It is the path that former Sabres’ quarterback Foster Martens took in his tenure with the Bisons.
The fact that Adams is even with the Bisons during this August camp has come as quite a surprise to the young receiver, who was also one of the top players on the SRSS Sabres hockey team the past couple of seasons.
Adams, 5’10", and one of the smallest players among the stable of Bisons receivers, was one of a larger group invited to the Bisons spring tryout camp. Although he felt he had performed well at that camp, he knew it would be difficult to make the Bisons this year coming straight out of high school.
In fact he had subsequently turned his attention to the Winnipeg Rifles junior football team and had committed to playing for the Rifles this season, who are part of the Prairie Football Conference of the Canadian Junior Football League.
But with the Rifles camp slated to get underway in late July, just two weeks before the Bisons camp kicked off, Adams received a phone call from longtime Bisons head coach Brian Dobie saying the Bisons had a spot for him, he had made the team.
Well, he knew he was playing football this summer and he knew his home field would be Investors Group Field as that is where the Rifles also play their home games, but instead he is now with the Bisons.
Dobie says when adding new players to their roster, such as Eric Adams, it’s a process, including the availability of scholarships and looking ahead to the next year, when several members of the current team will be graduating and/or possibly drafted into the CFL, which will open up positions on the team down the road for the likes of Eric Adams.
Although smaller in stature, that in itself is not necessarily a road block to success. A good example of that would be the standout career of Bomber receiver Weston Dressler.
"We like Eric," said Dobie, who has been coaching with the Bisons for more than 40 years, "he has good hands, runs very good routes, he has a lot of tools and has a high football IQ."
Dobie says they scouted Adams while with the Sabres and are very familiar with what he can do.
"We are looking more and more at programs such as in Steinbach and perhaps Garden City who have come on in recent years joining some of the more established schools that we often recruit from."
Dobie says Jamie Peters, who started the football program at the SRSS, is one of the most respected football coaches in Manitoba and it shows with the success the Sabres have had, and with players such as Adams.
As for camp, Adams says he doesn’t feel out of place with the Bisons, "the veteran receivers have been good to us young guys, it has gone very good so far."
Through the coming year he hopes to bulk up a bit working in the weight room, add some pounds to his slender frame, which he can utilize together with his speed.
Through this gruelling training camp, the Bisons have been largely hitting the field twice a day.
They first broke camp the weekend of Aug. 11 & 12, exactly when the thermometer was hitting 37 and 38 degrees. Dobie said as a precaution they shortened the on field time during those days.
The Bisons, 2007 Vanier Cup champions, who had an uncharacteristic 2-6 record last year, are looking to bounce back this year that will see them get back to their customary position of competing for the Canada West title.
The Bisons will open the regular season Sept. 1 in Vancouver as they take on the UBC Thunderbirds.
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