Where won’t you find people walking on Saturday?
At football head coach Shawn Olson’s training camp.
On Saturday, Olson, who quarterbacked UBC to a Vanier Cup in 1997, will open up his training camp at 9am with a day-long talk. He’ll inform players of his laws, one of which is that there’s no walking when practicing.
“One thing we are focusing on will be introducing our way of doing things, which is part of the culture change we are trying to enact here,” he said in a UBC press release.
Though on-field practicing will begin next week, many of the players have been working hard since the season ended.
Six players selected by Olson were sponsored by downtown’s Studio 55, which is owned by a former UBC football player, to train two hours a day, five or six times a week. There, said defensive lineman Serge Kaminsky, he focused on strengthening his core, increasing his flexibility and improving his footwork. This is designed to minimize the chance of injury, which had been a bane of the football program under previous head coach Ted Goveia’s tenure.
And other areas are being rebuilt as well.
For one, morale.
“From day one, when he came in, he brought a completely different attitude and energy than we’re used to. Like, I could genuinely feel that he’s excited to be here and that he wants to make the change. The attitude was never like that before. It was always more negative. Now it’s positive. We’ve got a good outlook for the program’s future,” said Kaminsky.
Quarterback Billy Greene is also pleased with Olson.
“I’ve never had a quarterback coach so for me it’s huge, and I have him always there with me saying ‘OK, you need to do this, you need to do that’. Fundamentally, he’s helping me out, especially with the mental side… Directly he’s been amazing for me. He went through it. Same high school and on to UBC. He knows what it takes. And he’s going to be there.”
Greene has a leg up on the two other UBC students vying for the starting quaterback gig, but Olson maintains that every position on the field is available.
“Every position is wide open. As a coaching staff, we are going in with an open mind and will evaluate the talent we have at every position,” said Olson. “Players have to be judged by how they perform and we are going to reward the guys who are doing what we are asking them to do. There has to be a bit of competitive tension in the roster which will keep guys from becoming complacent.”
He’s also bringing over students he coached at Simon Fraser University, where he was the offensive coordinator last year.
And as Olson hopes to be here for a while, he’s making his digs more comfortable.
Two weeks ago, he was painting a room at UBC’s football stadium that he was shaping up to serve as an office for his assistant coaches.
He has placed TVs in the locker room for tape purposes.
And there’s the new turf field, which will be ready just in time for training camp.
Next to his office, he’s developing a heritage room to showcase UBC’s football history.
Olson has already earned his place in the room as a player. He hopes to start a new legacy at UBC beginning this week.
Photo Courtesy of Richard Lam/UBC Athletics