The learning curve for an American football player–particularly a quarterback–to learn the nuances of playing in Canada can be steep. However, it appears Pat White is catching on quickly.
A larger playing field (both in length and width), more players on the field, only 3 downs to get a first down and something called the “Rogue” highlight a few of the rule differences. The wider field and extra player changes how running and passing lanes open up. One less down calls for more immediacy when moving the ball. “3 yards and a cloud of dust” does not exist in the CFL.
White, 28, joined the Edmonton Eskimos after signing a two-year contract in March. He will compete with starter Mike Reilly and several other candidates to round out the quarterback position. The team just finished it’s first week of training camp, and will prepare for their first preseason game this Friday against the B.C. Lions.
On Saturday, the Eskimos held their annual “Fan Day” open practice. Not only were fans allowed to watch the practice, it also gave the media an opportunity to see, and report, on the action.
While Reilly is the starter, the team also allowed the other quarterbacks competing to back him up to take reps with the first-team offense. In that role, White made several nice throws, including the highlight play of practice. He placed a perfect bomb in the hands of star receiver Fred Stamps, who then made several moves en route to the endzone.
“He just made a great catch,” White said of the play. “I put the ball in a spot where he could get it and the offensive line did an excellent job of protecting, first of all. He ran and grabbed it, went and got the ball.”
“It was a good throw by Pat White,” Stamps said. “He made a good corner ball. He just put it in a good place and I just kind of stuck my hands out there and it came in.”
Edmonton takes on B.C. this Friday night at 9:00 p.m. EDT.