May 25, 2023

Rob Vanstone: Everyone can hear Lanier during Roughriders training camp

Earlier this week, Saskatchewan Roughriders Head Coach Craig Dickenson referred to the “dog days” of training camp. 

It should be noted, however, that the canine influence was discernible long before the CFL team began this year’s tryouts in Saskatoon. 

The barking of Anthony Lanier II has been audible as far back as 2021. 

“During COVID, we had to be separated,” Lanier II recalled at Coors Light Riders Training Camp. “When we were separated, we were out in the back in the visitors’ locker room, trying to be spread out and keeping a safe distance. 

“I was going to be that dog in the back and it was just a matter of letting him out. 

Understanding how it felt during the quarantine, he was just waiting to get back in his home.” 

The quarantine is long gone, thank goodness, but the barking has continued. 

“My teammates loved it,” Lanier II said. “It brought more energy. Seeing and hearing them get pumped up and knowing what it did for me, I thought, ‘Let’s keep this going.’ ” 

So here we are, nicely into the 2023 training camp, and Lanier II is still apt to erupt with a bark or two … or three … or four. 

For the newcomers or the uninitiated, an acclimatization process is required. 

“This 6-foot-6 man is barking and howling coming out of the locker room,” Lanier II said with a chuckle.  

“One of my sayings is, ‘Dogs don’t start trippin’ until you put a muzzle on them’ — I’m talking about our face masks — because now it’s time to hunt. And if that dog doesn’t hunt, that dog doesn’t eat. 

“I’m also teaching a lesson behind what I’m saying. That’s to go out there and do what you need to do and be who you are supposed to be and get what you want out of life. So you want to take into the game what you want to get out of it.” 

Once the game begins, does Lanier persist with the barking with the objective of, say, unnerving a rival offensive lineman? 

“Definitely,” he stated. “I’m trying to make sure that they understand that I’m right there. 

“I’m a little bit more quiet on the field as far as the barking, because there’s more communication and I’m more locked-in. 

“It’ll come out, though, in a celebration or as the energy goes through the game and the fans are right into it.” 

Lanier creates many of those celebrations due to his propensity for playmaking on defence. Last season, for example, he had eight sacks in 11 games while evolving as a leader and an overall presence. 

“You have different types of leaders,” the third-year Roughrider noted. “You have the people who get out there and want to do the hoo-rah or the people who want to talk. I’m more of a person who wants to lead by example and with some energy. 

“I always take it back to when I was going through college and getting into the NFL Combine and Draft. I say, ‘Somebody else is working right now — and I’m working on being better than they are.’ 

“So I’m keeping on moving and I’m also giving my teammates an opportunity to realize that this is not an opportunity that you get as often as most people think, so don’t take it for granted.”  

Such is the wisdom dispensed by someone who has played in the NFL — registering five sacks in 11 games with Washington in 2017 — and wrapped his arms around Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints) and Eli Manning (New York Giants). 

Brees and Manning were the first two NFL quarterbacks to be sacked by Lanier II. 

The football life, as rewarding and accomplished as it has been, has prevented Lanier II from being able to own a dog — spirited emulation being the remaining option. 

“I used to have a dog,” he said. “Her name was Savannah — named after my city (in Georgia) — but unfortunately we travel so much. 

“Instead of keeping her, we found a nice home for her and let her run free. I get pictures of her every once in a while, so I can check to see how much of a little piggly she has grown into.” 


  •  Defensive back Amari Henderson continues to impress, as evidenced by Thursday’s interception-return touchdown. The long-distance pick-six came two days after Henderson had made a diving interception at training camp. Henderson and veteran cornerback Nic Marshall are both enjoying strong camps.
  •  Kalija Lipscomb was the receiving star of Thursday’s workout at Griffiths Stadium. He made two leaping grabs and also hauled in a touchdown dart from Jake Dolegala, who threaded the ball into a tight window.
  • Thursday’s pass knockdowns were courtesy of linebackers Larry Dean and Kolby Harvell-Peel.
  • More defensive highlights: Lanier II with a quarterback pressure; Deontai Williams with a shut-down of a screen pass; Nick Thomas with impressive pursuit of the ball-carrier on an end-around.
  • Kaare Vedvik and Adam Korsak both unleashed multiple punts exceeding 50 yards. 


  • The Roughriders on Thursday announced the signing of Brandon Council, who can play all five positions along the offensive line. Council, who was named the University of Auburn Tigers’ top offensive lineman in 2022, recently attended the New York Jets’ rookie mini-camp. In a corresponding move, the Roughriders have released offensive tackle Jordan Tucker, who suffered a knee injury early in training camp.
  • Friday’s walk-through is scheduled to run from 11 a.m. to noon at Griffiths Stadium. On Saturday, the Roughriders are to oppose the B.C. Lions in a pre-season game (5 p.m., Mosaic Stadium).
  •  In keeping with today’s canine theme, I proudly point out that a Training Camp 2023 record for dog attendees was set on Thursday. Here’s to Link, Leo and, of course, Ryder.