The grind of training camp is weighing on the Edmonton Elks as the team is officially through Week 1 of training camp.
Saturday was supposed to feature a mock game on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium but it ended up being cancelled.
Injuries are starting to pile up but Elks head coach and general manager Chris Jones took aim at another issue, which according to Jones is lack of ability to use Commonwealth Stadium — which is owned by the City of Edmonton — to its full potential during practice.
“We’re trying to simulate a game and we’re the only team in pro football that can’t get music on their speaker up there,” he said. “Somehow it’s like putting a rocket on the moon.
“That fact we can’t use our scoreboard to keep score in a mock (game) when we are attempting to prepare for the season… (is) a little bit frustrating quite honestly.”
The No. 1 reason for the mock game being cancelled was undoubtedly the injuries on the team and the position group feeling it the most is the offensive line with three more landing on the sideline on Saturday.
“It was just all at one position, which is a key position because it’s tough to evaluate quarterbacks if you don’t have enough offensive linemen,” Jones said. “You’re not going to be able to run the ball and you’re certainly not going to be able to pass protect.
“I made my decision to cut our stuff short, so we’re going to go inside and work in the weight room. We’re going to go on the field with the bands and then we’re going to get into the pool for some conditioning and pool therapy.”
The Elks did practise on Saturday but scaled back much of their planned work and will do the same Sunday. With a pre-season game on Friday against the Bombers in Winnipeg, Jones said the back-to-back session will be chopped to just one practice session.
“We’re at about 700 total reps — running about 60 to 70 per game — and the rookies have certainly had more than that and their legs are getting pretty heavy,” he said. “I’ve got to look at and be real smart about how we proceed, but it will be only one practice per day.
“We’ll treat the week more like a real game because I really want to evaluate apples and apples on Friday night.”
You can listen to live coverage of Friday’s pre-season game between the Elks and Bombers on 630 CHED starting with Countdown to Kickoff at 5 p.m. The opening kickoff from IG Field in Winnipeg will be at 6:30 p.m.