Getting feel for CFL

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

Our balls are indeed bigger, our fields more expansive and there are bigger crowds on our gridiron.

So, the biggest adjustments to the CFL game have to be made by quarterbacks who grew up with four-down football. And both highly-touted Blue Bomber pivots Bryan Randall and Cleveland McCoy got their first taste of it at Winnipeg's rookie camp before about 200 interested onlookers at Canad Inns Stadium yesterday afternoon.

DIFFERENT-SIZED BALL

"It's a different-size ball," said Randall, who still fired some zingers at practice. "The NFL ball's a little thinner than the CFL ball so that will take a little getting used to. But you keep throwing the ball over and over with more reps, you get a better feel for it.

"It's a little different going the 12-on-12 (players as opposed to 11-on-11 in the NFL) but I'll get a feel for it. But it's a little different."

The 6-foot-1, 218-pound Virginia Tech product finally arrived after the Bombers waited for him to sour on his NFL dream for a number of years.

"It was a lot of fun," said Randall, 24. "It was good to be back on the football field. It was good to be up in Canada where I've never been before and I'm looking forward to it. The opportunity is great. Being around a team again is really exciting."

Randall had the advantage of throwing to Kerry Johnson, a wide receiver he had gotten to know while both were in Atlanta's camp. Randall also credited incumbent veteran Kevin Glenn with helping him feel more comfortable.

The other new recruit, Cleveland McCoy, did not fare as well as Randall during his first go at the Canuck game. One ball even slipped out of his hand while he was attempting to pass.

"The ball's a little different so you have to get used to getting that grip but that'll come," said the 6-foot-2, 225-pound South Carolina State product. "That's nothing.

"(Yesterday) was more of a nervous day for me. We have a two-a-day (today) so, I'll come out in a different state of mind and the nerves should be gone then and it should be a pretty good day ... The bigger field is a helpful thing for me. It helps me run around a bit more. That's one attribute I can't wait to show the coaches."

McCoy may also have been thrown off by the fact that the airline lost his luggage (since found).

McCoy, 23, was named after his father and says those close to him call him 'Cleve.'

"Hopefully, I can get close to the Winnipeg fans so, they can call me Cleve," he said.

Glenn was impressed by both newcomers' eagerness to learn.

"They need to pick me and (QB Ryan) Dinwiddie's brain and ask a bunch of questions," Glenn said. "After being here one day -- you can tell these guys have knack for, how shall I say it? -- classroom behaviour. They're asking questions, watching the film, writing stuff down ... and that's a good thing.

"Getting out here and doing what they did (yesterday) will help them ... Experience on the field helps more than anything. That's what helped me early in my career to be where I am now."


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