November 29, 2015


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Yantz carries weight of Maple Leaf

Canadian QB getting a look at Blue camp

It's not supposed to be about this, about Jordan Yantz carrying the flag for Canadian quarterbacks everywhere.

It's supposed to be about ability, about making the right read and putting the ball in the right place.

Manitoba Bisons QB Jordan Yantz is lighting it up in Bombers rookie camp.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Manitoba Bisons QB Jordan Yantz is lighting it up in Bombers rookie camp.

But in the CFL, where Canadian quarterbacks have always been seen as second-class, it's never been that simple.

So credit Yantz for how he is handling things this week at Winnipeg Blue Bombers rookie camp. The University of Manitoba Bisons pivot -- and Regina native -- is not only soaking everything up, he's shining.

Asked if he felt he was carrying the banner for Canadian QBs, Yantz was straightforward.

"I'd like to say, 'Yeah,' " he began. "It's a matter of respect. It feels good. We can only do so much and do what we're asked to do to our highest potential. That's something we're focused on, I'm focussed on.

"Maybe we could do something and be the first."

Yantz certainly hasn't looked out of place among vets such as Drew Willy and Max Hall and the two other Americans from big-time schools -- Green Bay Packers draft pick Brian Brohm (Louisville) and Robert Marve (Miami and Purdue).

"He's good. Good strong arm and his numbers are good coming in... he was a productive quarterback here at the university," said Bomber head coach Mike O'Shea.

"I don't think he's shocked anybody. When we watched him on film, we saw a strong-armed kid who knew how to play the game. He's right in there, keeping pace. Coach (offensive co-ordinator Marcel Bellefeuille) said he's well-accepted among the group, He knows his stuff. He takes notes, he's diligent. He's taking it all in. It's a great experience, and to me, he doesn't look out of place."

Yantz, 24, has one more year of CIS eligibility left. And so his bottom line here is simple: When he returns to the Bisons, he'll be better for the experience. And so will the U of M offence.

"It's been awesome. Being out here and learning new things and getting out here with professionals is a fun thing," said Yantz.

"At the end of the day it's an opportunity that not many people get. It's something I'm excited about and I'm still doing it. So, here we go."

Asked to weigh in on the CFL and the long-standing Canadian QB issue, O'Shea added this:

"I got lots of thoughts on it. But that's a large conversation. That's a hotly debated conversation, too. I think there will be Canadian quarterbacks that play in the CFL before my time is done. Having said that, it's my job as the head coach to put the best team on the field. We will not give anybody a job based on criteria other than, 'Do they make our team better?' "

ROOKIE CAMP REVIEW: O'Shea was thrilled with the work of the rookies at the three-day camp and hopes they can carry their energy into the opening of main camp on Sunday.

"It was excellent," said O'Shea. "Now, rookie camp, there's going to be some mistakes, but the effort in that last team period was what we need. Guys were flying around, everybody to a man was running hard.

"When they see it on film they'll know what to expect of themselves and see what they can do on a play-by-play basis. As I said to them after, it's a job interview and they should want to do it that way."

That said, the club will likely trim a couple of players from their roster before Sunday's first full practice.

A SNEAK PEEK: Asked what Saturday will be like, when veterans report, O'Shea offered up a Coles Notes version.

"Long day. Eat. Medicals. Eat. Meetings. Meetings. Eat. Meetings. Sleep. That's a long day.

"The fun part of it is they all get to see each other again," he said.

Twitter: @WFPEdTait


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 31, 2014 C6

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