May 12, 2024

Roughriders training Camp, Day 1: Coach Mace has priorities in place

SASKATOON — Mom’s the word on Day 1 of the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ main training camp.

The tone was set by Head Coach Corey Mace to begin Sunday’s pre-practice team meeting.

“The first thing he said to the guys today was, ‘Make sure you call your mom. Don’t send a text. FaceTime her,’ ” running back A.J. Ouellette said at Griffiths Stadium on Mother’s Day.

Trevor Harris didn’t need prompting before placing a call to Suzanne Harris of Waldo, Ohio.

“My mom, she’s the best,” the Roughriders’ starting quarterback said.

“She’s a cancer survivor. She owns a dance studio that has 600 kids and she has devoted her life to putting smiles on kids’ faces.

“You should see her light up when she sees those kids conquer a fear, getting on stage and dancing in front of a huge crowd.

“She has devoted her life to great leadership. She’s the best leader I know. I’ve modelled a lot of my life after her and she’s truly an amazing woman.

“She has been through quite a bit and persevered, so I’m really thankful to have her.”

Suzanne and Tom Harris are the proud parents of Trevor, Cody, Autumn and Chantress.

Trevor and his wife, Kalie, have three sons — Trenton (who is seven), Trace (four) and Tripp (who turns one on May 25).

“My wife is the love of my life,” Harris said. “She’s the most incredible mom in the world.

“She educates our oldest son. She puts dinner on the table every night. She entertains them.

“There have been a few days where I’ve had to trade places with her, because she has had to get her hair done and do a couple of things and hang out with her mom.

“I’m counting down the minutes until she gets back. What my wife does inside the home is truly remarkable and I’m really thankful.

“I love both of those women … so Happy Mother’s Day.”


The presence of Jermarcus Hardrick — a.k.a. Yoshi — was quickly noted on Sunday.

The veteran offensive tackle made himself heard and, at times, felt during the opening workout of Coors Light Riders Training Camp.

“That’s one thing about Yoshi,” Mace said. “He’s going to bring that every day.

“(Kian) Schaffer-Baker caught a ball and he ran up and gave him a chest-bump and almost knocked him out of the stadium.

“That’s awesome, man, and that energy is infectious.”

Hardrick, who spent the past eight seasons with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, was named the East Division’s Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman in 2023. He also made the East All-Star team, as did running back A.J. Ouellette — another prized free-agent signing by the Roughriders.

After Ouellette’s first practice with the Green and White, he referenced the energy Hardrick brought to the proceedings.

“He was trying to race me to the football after every play, and I appreciate that,” said Ouellette, formerly of the Toronto Argonauts.

“Once we get everybody rallying to the ball and pushing the ball-carrier right up until the whistle, that’s just going to add in extra yards and make the defence quit by the second half.”

Ouellette’s commitment to gaining extra yardage was especially evident during one play on Sunday morning.

“I saw his helmet pop off and the Thor hair coming out the back,” Mace said. “He was still rolling. He didn’t care.

“That’s a penalty — we’re going to have to talk about that — but I know that’s not going to slow him down. That’s just the kind of guy he is, so it’s awesome to have him around.”


  • Second-year Roughriders defensive back Rodney Clemons had a pair of pass knockdowns — including a spectacular diving effort near the sideline to avert a seemingly certain completion to Dohnte Meyers.
  • It was a strong day overall for Meyers, who caught a deep pass from Harris and produced another completion on a shorter route that a defensive back attempted to jump.
  • First completion of training camp: Harris to Samuel Emilus.
  • Two other connections of note: Antonio Pipkin to KeeSean Johnson on a corner route and Jack Coan to Kendall Watson in a tight window.
  • Frequent and inviting target: 6-foot-2, 211-pound Ajou Ajou, the Roughriders’ seventh-round Draft choice (59th overall) in 2024.
  • First interception of training camp: Holton Hill, on a tipped pass. He was also the first interceptor at rookie camp.
  • Non-Clemons pass knockdowns on Sunday: Second-year Roughrider Deontai Williams and rookie Eric Smith, the latter of whom has completed the 40-yard dash in a breezy 4.38 seconds.
  • More speed: Jerrion Ealy demonstrated an impressive burst of speed on a running play to the outside.


Shortly before Sunday’s practice, the Roughriders announced that defensive back Jalon Edwards-Cooper had been released.

“Jalon came in and he ended up failing his physical,” Mace said. “It was an injury that we were familiar with, obviously.”

Edwards-Cooper, who signed with the Roughriders as a free agent, is dealing with the lingering effects of a dislocated shoulder. He sustained the injury last fall as a member of the B.C. Lions.

“We got him in here and we got it looked at and it ended up being a little bit worse than anticipated, unfortunately,” Mace said. “It’s something that’s going to be long-term.

“I’m really sad for the kid and it’s unfortunate for us as well. Hats off to Jalon. We’re not going to close the door on it. It’s just going to take some time.”

Also on Sunday, the Roughriders announced that offensive linemen Brandon Council, Jerald Hawkins, Jonathan Hubbard and Sadarius Hutcherson had been suspended, along with a fellow American, receiver Dazz Newsome.

Added to the camp roster was linebacker Stephen Smith, an Abernethy-born Regina Thunder standout who was named the Canadian Junior Football League’s top defensive player in 2023.


Shortly after Sunday’s practice, the music resumed — at an increased volume.

Then Griffiths Stadium was momentarily transformed into a green-carpeted dance floor.

“It’s just rookie initiation,” Mace said. “We had a little dance time for the rooks.

“We were just having some fun. That’s one thing I don’t want these guys to lose sight of. We’re still playing football at this age, which is mind-boggling, so you’ve got to have some fun, too.”

The fun resumes on Monday at 8:30 a.m., when the Day 2 training-camp workout is to begin.

Dancing to follow? Stay tuned.