B.C. Lions coaching camp: A journey of orange jerseys and pineapple pizza for Michael Couture

2023 would be the first season that Michael Couture will play for a CFL crew aside from Winnipeg, however the Burnaby native is adjusting to life taking part in in his dwelling province.

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For six years, his complete CFL profession, Burnaby’s Michael Couture wore the stylish blue-and-gold scheme of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

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So, suffice it to say, it’s been an adjustment to sporting the B.C. Lions’ five-alarm orange. However a fleeting one.

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“Yeah, seeing the apply jersey for the primary time was a bit of humorous. However I obtained over that fairly rapidly,” the Lions’ centre stated from coaching camp in Kamloops. “I’ve had a few members of the family telling me I look good in orange.

“However I don’t assume it’s totally hit me but,” he added of the transfer dwelling. “And I don’t assume it can in all probability till the home-opener, as a result of I’ve obtained chunk of family and friends that’ll be at that one.”

Couture, who joined B.C. in February throughout free-agency, nonetheless hasn’t had an opportunity to placed on the precise recreation uniform but. Not the Fog Gray, nor the menacing Blackout. His first probability might be Saturday afternoon when the Lions go to Mosaic Stadium in Regina to tackle the Saskatchewan Roughriders in pre-season play.

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“I’m actually excited to place the brand new jersey on … I’m wanting ahead to seeing how I look in these,” he stated.

So are Lions followers. The acquisition of the two-time Gray Cup champion helps make up for the lack of Joel Figueroa to Hamilton, as he brings a successful pedigree and wealth of expertise.

He was a CFLPA all-star in 2021, and didn’t miss a regular-season recreation his complete profession till he broke his arm in Sport 2 of 2022 and missed all however seven video games. He’s been an integral a part of an offensive line that has been among the many leaders in factors scored, dashing and quarterback safety over the previous 4 years.

His signing meant the top of Peter Godber’s growth in B.C., because the younger Toronto native signed as a free agent with the ‘Riders the exact same day. Godber had moved over to centre two years in the past, and was a part of the revamped unit that went from one of many worst to top-of-the-line within the CFL.

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“In B.C., there was no secret components. It was simply numerous arduous work and numerous time collectively,” he informed Postmedia Information’s Darren Zary throughout ‘Riders camp. “After apply, we frolicked watching movie and, earlier than apply, movie. We’d name one another at night time and discuss by way of the blitzes and stuff like that. It took numerous arduous work, mainly doing all of it collectively. Within the low season, we spent numerous time collectively. All that factored into a very good offensive line final yr.”

It’s the identical for Couture in B.C. as he tries to construct chemistry along with his new linemates, though he did play with Sukh Chung throughout their shared Winnipeg days. This week, it concerned numerous pizza — forgive them for his or her love of ham and pineapple, of us — and watching recreation movie.

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“I’m excited to see the way it all suits collectively,” he stated. “Personally, they’re all nice guys. O-linemen are sort of a distinct breed, I’d say we wish to bond over meals and hanging out, lounging round.

“It doesn’t take a lot to sort of click on with a gaggle like that. I’m excited for recreation motion. Follow is one factor, however getting my calls down correctly, getting the spacing and all that sort of stuff with the guards and tackles goes to be large.”

Jarrell Broxton has been a monster in Kamloops and seems to have Figueroa’s former left sort out spot on lockdown, with offensive line coach Kelly Bates being impressed by the camp performances of Kent Perkins, Phillip Norman and Chris Schleuger. Canadian David Knevel, who missed all of 2022 with an harm, has additionally returned with a vengeance.

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Couture, going into his seventh season, and Chung (eighth) are the most-tenured of the unit, and Couture is the one one with a Cup ring. And he’s bringing the championship mindset the one method he is aware of how.

“Work ethic and consistency,” he stated. “That’s essentially the most key factor for me to achieve success. To attempt to not get too excessive or too low on any given day, and simply have my teammates, my coaches know that I’m going to work arduous and I’m gonna convey it on a regular basis. So from a private standpoint, that’s what I really feel like I must convey

“And simply from the primary week right here, conferences and apply, it’s a fairly well-oiled machine. I don’t assume we have to try to be like anyone else. This crew was very profitable final yr, and I’m simply excited to be part of constructing on that success.”

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The group is attempting to be constant and construct as properly, giving out multi-year offers in an environment of single-season contracts as a way to maintain a core group of gamers and id followers can seize on to. And Couture, who signed for 2 years, additionally respects the opposite side of what the Lions try to develop: the native grassroots.

“Throughout our fan fest scrimmage right here the opposite day, I used to be sitting on the bench, on the coated benches that we obtained right here, and abruptly, there’s a ‘bang! bang! bang!’ on the glass from behind,” he stated. “I rotated and it’s my first junior bantam coach and certainly one of my former teammates that had been strolling the monitor. Now they reside in Kamloops; they had been simply beaming to see me, and I used to be so shocked to see them.

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“It’s simply the small interactions with … native people who have helped me alongside my soccer journey that I’m most excited to be round that side extra,” stated the Simon Fraser College alum. “I’m very enthusiastic about soccer on this province, B.C. soccer, at each degree. Clearly what’s with what’s been happening with SFU it’s sort of actually hit dwelling for me. So now that I’m gonna be on this province year-round, I’m going to be extra concerned with my highschool, and hopefully sooner or later, my college program, if they’ll stick round.

“I simply assume sport brings youngsters so many alternatives and helps them develop in so many various methods, and I’m fairly enthusiastic about that.”

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