The player evaluations are done and just over 70 members of the Okanagan Sun will begin the trek towards the B.C. Football Conference season this weekend as the Sun kick off training camp with fitness testing and workouts this weekend before practices start in full force next week.
New head coach Shane Beatty has 72 players in camp this weekend and expects to enter the BCFC season with about that number, depending on surprises or players leaving the team in advance of the Sun’s season opener on July 27.
“I’m really excited about the upcoming season,” said Beatty, hired in December to try and revive a Sun franchise that has struggled in past seasons. “Everything is coming to fruition. It’s been a lot of hard work and lots of hours spent on the recruiting class.”
A former Sun player and a Kamloops native, Beatty has more than a dozen years of coaching experience at the NCAA level as well as NAIA and the junior game. He is also a strength coach and has recruited hard since being named the Sun head coach. He says the team should have a great offense and solid defensive secondary this season.
“Our offense should be really good,” he said. “We have three good running backs, our offensive line is much bigger and this might be the best defensive secondary I’ve been around. We’re deep, experienced and fast.”
There is also competition for the quarterback job as Cam Bedore is back for a second season and will battle for snaps with newcomer Theo Deezar, a 6-foot-5 QB from Winnipeg.
“With these two guys in camp it’s going to be a great one-two punch,” said Beatty. “There’s going to be competition for the job and competition breeds success.”
Beatty also said his wide receiving corps is very deep and talented as well.
The new head coach says players will be put through fitness testing and workouts this weekend before practices start full steam ahead on Monday where Beatty will begin to implement the systems he wants to run in his first season coaching the Sun.
“We have already evaluated the kids at our spring camp and by watching film so we know what they can do,” he said. ‘Now we’re just ready to get going. We will start with going over some fundamentals before we start to put in the systems we’re going to play.”
With speed at what seems like every offensive position, a bigger offensive line and a good secondnary, the blocks are all there to return the Sun to prominence in the BCFC, said Beatty.
“Really I think we can put some numbers up on the offensive side,” he said. “I think we will be very explosive and I think we will be able to compete with anyone.”
The Sun open the season July 27 at the Apple Bowl against the Chilliwack Huskers.