There is no time and no sense for Dakota Prukop to do the woulda, coulda, shoulda thing after evaluating his first performance in Winnipeg Blue Bombers colours.
The veteran quarterback learned a long time ago that’s simply wasted energy, no matter whether his own performance was good, bad or indifferent. And so in the wake of last Friday’s 30-20 loss to the Edmonton Elks – a game in which the veteran pivot was 5-of-14 for 81 yards and two interceptions while running for a touchdown, Prukop simply won’t let any of that affect how he prepares for another opportunity to shine Tuesday night in Regina against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
“There’s a lot to learn from,” said Prukop in a chat with bluebombers.com after practice Sunday. “It was great getting out there with the guys and I really cherish the reps I got with the ones and start to build some chemistry with those guys. That’s a difficult thing to do because it takes time, but it’s good to build some camaraderie there.
“There were some good things that I can take from it going forward, some things I learned from, like the two picks I threw in that game.”
Prukop shared Friday’s reps with Dru Brown, with the latter earning a lot of love for his handiwork. Prukop had his moments, too, but the two interceptions do jump out as a negative.
“The first one – it’s just timing-wise I’m hanging on to it too long and trying to get a sense of what the receiver is doing and not trusting it and letting it go,” Prukop explained.
“The second one… football’s tough, man. We’re driving down the field and everything’s going well and it’s ‘Hey, we’re going to win this thing.’ I’ve been in that situation so many times in the pre-season and have always fared well. It’s a learning experience. I’m trying to make a play. I wish I could have got myself a little more time or got rid of the ball a little quicker or maybe more of a deeper drop. But I washed it. That’s football. That’s just how it goes sometimes.”
The Brown vs. Prukop battle for the No. 2 quarterback job behind CFL All-Star and Most Outstanding Player Zach Collaros was one of the key storylines at the start of training camp and will continue through Tuesday’s final dress rehearsal in Regina.
Brown looked comfortable at the controls on Friday and showed infinite growth since his first appearance with the club in the regular season finale last year in Calgary. Prukop, meanwhile, does have the benefit of 49 games of CFL experience to his name after stints with Toronto and Edmonton.
Both men were tested using a variety of personnel last Friday as the faces in the huddle constantly changed so that offensive coordinator Buck Pierce and the coaching staff could evaluate the collection of prospects.
And for a position that relies so much on chemistry, that certainly could present some challenges. Yet…
“Winners don’t make a bunch of excuses,” said Prukop. “I’m not going to make excuses. I’m just going to look at the tape and try to get better.
“I’ve also got to realize it’s never as good as it looks and it’s never as bad as it looks. There are some good things on the tape I’m proud of and that’s what I’ll take from this into the next game.”
The Blue Bombers made a few roster moves leading up to Saturday’s first league cut down, releasing defensive backs Mike Hampton, Marlon Character and Evan Holm, defensive lineman Will Evans and receiver Keyion Dixon – all imports – along with Canadian defensive lineman Alfred Green.
Added to the roster was American offensive lineman Cameron Durley and Candian defensive end Rossini Sandjong.
Durley (6-6, 315) comes to the club after a solid four-year college career with the Tennessee State Tigers. Durley, a tackle, was named a First Team All Ohio Valley Conference All-Star in back-to-back seasons, 2019-20 and 2020-21.
Sandjong (6-2, 235) joins the Blue Bombers from York University and a stint with the Edmonton Elks, where he played five games in 2021 after being a fifth-round selection of the club in the 2020 CFL Draft. During his days at York he was named to the OUS All-Rookie Team and then a OUA Second Team All-Star and OUA First Team All-Star in 2017 and 2018.
Blue Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea was asked about the importance of Saturday night’s Grey Cup ring unveil dinner and what it provides.
“Closure,” he said. “We know they’ve been waiting for that, and we got it done. You’d like to have it a little earlier so that you can move on with the camp, but it was a nice night. The guys enjoyed it and it’s a beautiful memento the guys get that hopefully have forever. It’s a good reminder of what they accomplished and, also closure.”
O’Shea said had no update on Global punter Tom Hackett, who returned home after an impressive rookie camp, while LB Jesse Briggs should be in Winnipeg in a few days. He was away for family matters.
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