Tompkins' job on the line

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:09 AM ET

Tony Tompkins doesn't need to be reminded of two very important points: his job is on the line and the competition is tough.

After a dismal 2006 campaign, the Eskimos' returner is going to have to battle speedy Vince Strang to win his job this season.

"It is stiff competition," said Tompkins.

"Just like last year and my rookie season, I have to come out and work just as hard as the next man to earn my position on this team."

Four special teams touchdowns in 2005 guaranteed Tompkins a job last year.

A big fat doughnut through 2006 means Strang now has a serious shot to become the No. 1 returner.

As a senior at California-Berkeley, Strang returned a punt 68 yards for a touchdown and found himself on ESPN Sportscenter's Top 10 Plays of the Week. So far he hasn't had a chance to return punts at training camp, but his speed is clearly evident.

He might be the fastest player in camp after blazing down the sidelines yesterday on a pass route.

"I was lucky enough to catch a ball in the flat," he said. "There was nobody behind me and I just turned around and ran down the sideline.

"I had a whole bunch of the field to work with and I can't ever remember being that open and having that much field to run with. It was a great feeling."

With the change in the illegal block rule - allowing the players to block opponents more from the side than last year - this should be an entertaining special teams battle.

CAMP CHATTER: Mike Maurer is expected to appear at camp for the first time today after attending to family matters ... Sean Fleming will miss practice today for his annual golf tournament.

LINE OF THE DAY: "I don't remember the last time we were this athletic here," Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia.


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