Argonauts' Dontrelle Inman packs on the muscle

Argos receiver Dontrelle Inman packed on an additional seven pounds in the off-season. (Matthew...

Argos receiver Dontrelle Inman packed on an additional seven pounds in the off-season. (Matthew Desouza/Argonauts.ca)

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:43 AM ET

TORONTO - If you liked Dontrelle Inman in his rookie year, you’re going to love him now.

For one thing, there’s more of him to love.

No, Inman did not go on a Krispy Kreme binge and show up 100 pounds heavier this year.

But he is noticeably more solid after adding a substantial portion of muscle mass since the end of last season.

“Right from the Grey Cup I kept grinding,” Inman said Friday. “I went right into my off-season program to get better.”

From the beginning of last season to now, Inman is about seven pounds heavier and somehow an inch taller than he measured in a year ago, but there’s no denying his lean frame is carrying more muscle than it did this time last year.

Inman checked in as a rookie at 6-foot-2, 197 pounds. In Year 2, he came in at 6-foot-3, 204 pounds.

We have no idea how a 24-year-old young man is still getting taller but he can explain the added seven pounds.

“I had a couple of trainers back at school at University of Virginia helping me out,” Inman said. “The coaches here helped me out and a few guys who were staying with me back home,” Inman said.

Inman said there was never a chance he would lose speed or hurt his leaping ability with the added weight because of the way he went about adding the bulk. By adding the mass early on in the off-season he gave himself plenty of time to get accustomed to it.

“Once you hit a weight and you train with it for so long your body acclimates to it,” he said.

Inman put on the poundage to improve all facets of his game. The added strength will help him break tackles but that wasn’t all it was about.

“It’s everything,” Inman said. “It’s for longevity, really. The stronger and bigger you are, the more they hit you, the less you feel it. And yes, it helps breaking tackles.”

Inman’s rookie season was a series of wow moments followed by periods of inactivity. He finished the year with 50 catches and five touchdowns, averaging just over 16 yards per reception.

But just about every game there was something to point to, whether it was a leaping grab over a defender or a touchdown as he ran away from coverage that made you see the possibility of much bigger things to come.

Based on his training camp this year, a camp in which those who have been at every workout tell irregulars like yours truly that he’s been catching everything in sight, those bigger things could be coming this year.

Inman, though, isn’t the type who likes to talk much about himself. Even as a rookie, when quarterback Ricky Ray pointed to his potential during the first Argos training camp for both players, Inman has always been reluctant to toot his own horn.

“I have had an OK camp,” Inman said when told what the camp regulars were saying about him. “I’m just trying to get better. I’m not going to brag on myself. You know me. I put my teammates first and put everyone else first before myself.”

Following Friday’s workouts at Holy Trinity Catholic High School in Oakville, Inman gave a perfect example of that as he spent an extra 15 minutes afterwards working with defensive back Jalil Carter and linebacker Bryan Payton on their technique jamming receivers coming off the line.

“Just helping them get better,” Inman said when asked about the extra work. “As a team we all have to be good. They’re just looking for ways to get better and if I can help, I will. They help me, too, releasing off the ball, so I help them and they help me.”

Head coach Scott Milanovich has been very happy with what he has seen both from Inman’s off-season work and his work during camp so far.

“I think he’s stronger, but he just looks better overall,” Milanovich said. “He looks quicker, he looks like he’s getting in and out of his breaks and hopefully the extra weight will help keep him healthy. It’s such a long season and you hope it keeps from getting too banged up with the nicks and bruises. He looks really good. It looks like he hasn’t lost a step.”

Inman isn’t about to make any promises for the coming year but he will admit to feeling as comfortable in this offence as he has in any offence since high school and there’s a very good reason for that.

“This is the first year I have come back to the same offence that I left since high school,” Inman said. “I had four different offensive co-ordinators in college so every year the offence changed. Jacksonville (his one NFL season) had another offence and then I came here and learned another one.”

Even with the tweaks the Argos have added, the offence as a whole remains unchanged.

“The offence is built so you can tweak something but it’s still the same concept,” Inman said.

One more reason to get very excited about the coming season for the bigger, faster, stronger Inman.

PIVOT PUSH IDEAL: COACH

As debuts go, Scott Milanovich had very little to complain about.

Having gone over the film of Wednesday’s 24-6 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the Argos’ head coach considered it a very solid first step.

But what stood out the most for Milanovich was the way his young quarterbacks carried themselves.

“They all looked confident and led the team and looked like they belonged out there under centre,” Milanovich said of Trevor Harris, Zach Collaros, Mitchell Gale and Josh Portis.

“They’ve all got another week to show what they can do and next week’s pre-season game will go a long way to determine who gets that (backup) spot (behind Ricky Ray).”

While Harris and Collaros would appear to have an edge on the two newcomers to the quarterback battle, Milanovich has liked the push all four have given each other.

“I just think competition is good thing because it puts pressure on them and what they are feeling is the same type of thing they would feel if something were to happen to Ricky and they had to go in and win a game for us,” Milanovich said. “The more you can stress those guys and put them under pressure and make them feel that everyone is watching them, I think that’s good for them.”

The Argos will wrap up the pre-season portion of the schedule next Thursday with a tune-up against the Montreal Alouettes at Varsity Stadium.


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