Edmonton Elks offence using final week of camp to iron out the kinks

Edmonton Elks receiver Derel Walker catches a ball during 2021 training camp. Courtesy: Edmonton Elks

You can count the remaining training camp sessions on one hand for the Edmonton Elks, who returned to The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium on Tuesday following an off day.

The last time the Elks were on the field was for Sunday’s scrimmage, an event that didn’t make head coach Jamie Elizondo overly happy from an offensive standpoint.

Read more: Edmonton Elks: Defence shines in Sunday scrimmage on Day 16 of Training Camp

So, did he see better from his group on Tuesday? Again, it was mixed results.

“I told the whole group I thought that we practised, but we didn’t practise with the urgency and intensity that has been custom of what we’ve seen in the first 11 practices,” Elizondo said.

“A little disappointed in that regard, but I’m always going to be honest with the team, and we just didn’t have the urgency that we needed. That being said, we installed some new things so there was more thinking going on. I thought the defence had a good day. They were flying around and set the tone. We just didn’t execute that well on offence.”

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The first team offence saw a lot more reps on Tuesday, which will be the case for the rest of the week.

Getting the timing down is important for receiver Derel Walker, who was a late arrival to camp and didn’t see the field until last week after going through COVID protocols. He says Tuesday’s practice was the best he’s felt since arriving in Edmonton. Hearing the criticism from Elizondo about the offence is humbling, he said.

“It’s a bittersweet moment because you know there are things that you need to work on,” Walker said.

“At the same time, you want to be further along, but at least we know what we need to fix and get better at. We know the next day we have to come in and be better and work out the kinks that we messed up in the scrimmage. We had too many turnovers and too many bust plays for the (number) of plays that we repped and that’s unacceptable for any game. Fifty plays and three interceptions — that’s unacceptable.”

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Elks quarterback Trevor Harris says receiving more reps will only help the offence as the Aug. 7 season opener against the Ottawa Redblacks gets closer. Harris says the key for the offence now in camp is being able to sustain their conditioning during a drive.

“There are certain times when the receivers are running a clear out down the field, and the next play, they’re the number one receiver on a progression, and the next time, they’re a number two crossing the field, and that’s just wind and certain stuff that happens in a game that you can’t control, and that’s the stuff we have to do to get in shape,” Harris said.

“When I’m looking to throw and scrambling outside the pocket, I’ve got to come back and be able to do the exact same thing again. That’s what we’re implementing right now, is being able to feel that long drive and be able to sustain it.”

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Read more: Edmonton Elks sign assistant coach Noel Thorpe to contract extension

Linebacker Brian Walker returned Tuesday after missing the last two practices. Offensive linemen SirVincent Rogers and Kyle Saxelid along with receiver Tevaun Smith remained on the sidelines.

The Elks practise on Wednesday morning.

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