Miguel Robede stood silently watching future teammates duke it out and wished he could be the one smashing pads.
The Calgary Stampeders' first-overall pick in this year's Canadian college draft won't play with the team this season as he's returning to Laval to finish his degree.
But that didn't stop him visiting the opening day of training camp yesterday to get a taste of the pro game.
"I got some ants in my underwear after watching the one-on-ones," Robede said. "I love the game, so I'm here for that."
The 24-year-old's presence at camp should put to rest any questions about his intentions after spurning the Stamps for another go-round with the two-time Vanier Cup champion Rouge et Or.
Robede said he desperately wants to finish school before he embarks on a pro career.
So head coach Tom Higgins offered the defensive lineman the opportunity to soak in the Stampeders atmosphere, which he did by studying the lineman battle in one-on-ones.
"This a great chance to watch camp and be with my future teammates," Robede said.
"I wanted to see their ethics and how hard they work.
"I'm fired up for next year. I'm not coming because I want to finish my studying, that's a pretty good reason."
Higgins agrees and is thrilled the prospect travelled across the country to witness practice.
Higgins said he'll make no overtures to get Robede to change his mind when he's in Calgary.
"The decision is made, it's a good decision and he needs to stick with it," Higgins said.
"Any time you make a decision in this sport, you line up and never second guess yourself.
"This is a very positive for him and the Stampeders. When he comes into training camp next year, he'll have a good idea of what to expect. Going out on the field, he'll have a very good feel for it."
After one day of practices, Robede already feels like he's learned something. Defensive line coach Casey Creehan was showing his troops how to stiff arm offensive lineman and break free. It opened Robede's eyes.
"I like seeing how coach Creehan works and the things he does with the defensive line," Robede said. "It will make me better. It doesn't matter if you bench press 400 and squat 500, it's the little things that make a better payoff."