the study of the kicking components within sports

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

CFL E-Camp 2011: Twice the Kick

The Americans were camping (Combining) last weekend and the Canadians will be camping this weekend, Friday March 4th to Sunday March 6th. Toronto will be the setting for the CFL's annual Evaluation Camp. This year's participants include two kickers:
Laval's Christopher Milo and Alberta's Hugh O'Neill will become only the third and fourth kickers to attend the camp in 10 years. Guelph's Rob Maver, who was invited a year ago, was later selected fifth overall by Calgary in the CFL Canadian Draft and went on to lead the CFL in scoring in 2010 with 185 points. UBC's Duncan O'Mahony participated in 2001 and enjoyed an eight-year CFL career.
Christopher Milo, Montreal Quebec
May 8, 2010: Laval kicker Christopher Milo was good on all three field goal attempts (37, 18, 40 yards) as the East team prevailed 12-9 in the eighth annual East West Bowl, presented by Under Armour, on Saturday afternoon at TD Waterhouse Stadium on the campus of The University of Western Ontario. In the third frame the wind picked up and the snow began to fall, but that did not stop Surla as he had a forceful take down at the 50-yard line causing the East’s first down. Soon after, Milo kicked an impressive 40-yard field goal increasing the East lead to 12-7. “The snaps were just taking off and tough to handle in this wind. The winds were just taking over. On the 40-yard field goal I drove my leg in a bit more and luckily the wind died down right before I kicked it.”
Hugh O'Neill, Edmonton Alberta
O’Neill is a dual purpose kicker/punter out of the University of Alberta. The Golden Bear is ranked 11th in the CFL’s Canadian amateur scouting bureau, and is the top kicker available in the draft class. He’s a four-time Canada West all-star from 2007 through 2010, a second team CIS all-Canadian place kicker and punter in 2007, first team CIS punter in 2009, but perhaps most importantly he was the athletic program’s academic all-Canadian in 2007/08, and maintains a GPA of slightly under 4.00.
We checked in Hugh, who offered the following thoughts on the upcoming camp:
"I'm just hoping I can showcase some of my skills at the camp. My understanding is that Christopher Milo and I are the third and fourth kickers to be invited to the camp which is a great honor. I think it's awesome to see kickers getting a chance to kick some footballs in that competitive setting before the draft. Right now preparation is somewhat limited due to weather, but at the University of Alberta we have a facility which allows me to dome a little bit of kicking to make sure everything is still working with the leg before the camp. I am very excited to travel to Toronto and participate in the E-camp and look forward to competing with the best players in the CIS."
So what is the E-camp experience like for a kicker? That very question was answered last year by Rob Maver - a 2010 E-camp participant and a subsequent first-round draft pick by the Calgary Stampeders. Following are a few excerpts from Rob's complete write-up:
  • At check in, I was given a Reebok bag, which had all of all of my personalized gear for the weekend. This gear included a sweat suit, compression shorts, t-shirt, socks, and hat among other items. More importantly, Ryan Janzen from the CFL League Office, handed me an envelope. Inside: an itinerary for the weekend and an interview schedule. I had interviews with the Stampeders, Argonauts and the Tiger-Cats on the Friday night. I felt they all went very well.
  • Being the lone kicker there, I was grouped with the quarterbacks and the running backs. You spend the majority of your time throughout E-Camp with your group.
  • Saturday morning we did our medicals followed by the first round of testing. This first round of testing included the ‘almighty’ bench press. Originally I was in line to go right after Mike Montoya, but after watching him shatter the E-Camp bench record with 40 reps, I decided it would be a good idea to find somebody else to go right after him, ha-ha. Fortunately, I found somebody who was willing to do this so that the scouts did not see a cliff jump between consecutive bench press performances.
  • For all of the guys participating in E-Camp, Sunday was game-day. Sure, the interviews and combine testing are excellent measures of one’s personality and athleticism, however the most important test was on the field.
  • After a quick stretch and warm up routine I was ready to go. Coach O’Shea grabbed Kevin Eiben. Kevin Eiben has held for many kickers the Argonauts have had. CFL Director of Officiating Tom Higgins came over and told me how we’d be running the workout and we were off. The workout consisted of several kicks from various distances from both hash marks. To wind down, Mr. Higgins put me through some short kicks to show coaches my elevation, and then we ended with a convert.
  • Following the kicking session, I re-joined my group to run the 40-yard dash and the shuttle run tests.
  • My overall impression of E-Camp was that it was an incredible weekend. Having grown up watching the CFL, it was very special to partake in a 48-hour job interview with the teams. It was awesome getting to meet the coaches and executives around the league, especially since I have been a fan of this league for as long as I can remember.

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