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Rams quarterback Marc Mueller excels at CFL evaluation camp

Autumn McDowell
Sports Writer

With his dream on the line and all the scouts watching, Marc Mueller stepped up.

The University of Regina Rams quarterback took part in the CFL evaluation camp from March 4 to 6 in Toronto. Rams receiver Brenden Owens was also invited to the camp, but he was hampered by a hamstring injury and did not attend.

Mueller had the camp buzzing, seeing as he is the grandson of the legendary Ron Lancaster (a former quarterback for the Saskatchewan Roughriders and CFL head coach). The extra hype around Mueller’s name seemed to only add fuel to his fire.

Mueller did four repetitions in the bench press, posted a 5.10-second 40 time, had a 30-inch vertical, jumped eight feet two inches in the broad jump and ran the shuttle run in 4.55 seconds and the three-cone drill in 7.59 seconds.

“I was very happy with how the entire weekend went,” said Mueller. “For most of the physical testing, I had personal bests, and I believe that I threw the ball pretty well in the individual drills to the receivers and running backs. Overall, it was a fun weekend to get out and compete with the best of the best from Canada.”

In order for Mueller to be completely confident with his skills going into camp, preparations began early.

“For the evaluation camp, I worked pretty hard with our strength and conditioning coach Shawn Kuster,” explained Mueller. “He made a special workout and drills for me and Owens to do in preparation for the camp, and those really helped me know what to expect and helped me perform to the best of my ability at the camp.”

The future is still very much up in the air for Mueller, who is entering his final year with the Rams, but he likes the prospect of being able to play professional football one day. The CFL draft takes place on May 8 and there is also the opportunity that Mueller could be signed as a free agent.

“I think I could definitely help a team out,” he said. “If I had time to grow and develop and adapt to the speed of the game, I believe I could play at the CFL level.”

In order for Mueller to make a name for himself and possibly make a career out of playing football, his football IQ will have to be extremely high. It is something that Mueller believes he won’t have a problem with.

“My knowledge of the Canadian game is pretty high and I believe I could step in and pick up the offensive scheme pretty quickly,” he said.

While Mueller took advantage of his opportunity to go to the evaluation camp, the Rams did not do the same this season. Regina finished third in Canada West with a 5-3 record, losing 40-33 to the host Calgary Dinos in a semifinal.

“I believe that our season went pretty well,” said Mueller. “But we should have won some more games. That’s what’s so tough about football. You only get a certain amount of chances and you just have to take advantage of them.”

“The major thing that we need to do for next season is to get off to better starts. Our offence would start too slow and, before long, we would be down two or three scores. We can’t do that. We can’t go two and out early. We need to help our defence out by giving them more of a rest and not giving the other team good field position.

“My goal as a football player has always been to win a Vanier Cup, and this up and coming season I believe we have a real good shot at it. To go out in my last year and play my last game in BC Place (site of the 2011 Vanier Cup), would be perfect for me.”

Other U of R sports headlines

Women’s Basketball

Cougars third-year point guard Joanna Zalesiak has been named a CIS second-team all-star.

In the CIS, Zalesiak was second this year with 111 assists. She also finished second in Canada West with 16.2 points per game. Earlier in the month, Zalesiak was named a conference first-team all-star while teammate Lindsay Ledingham earned a second-team nod.

“Joanna is one of the most electrifying players in the country,” said Cougars head coach Dave Taylor in a media release. “Her ability to score and to be a playmaker was a major factor in our team’s success this season.”

Kim Tulloch, a guard for the Saskatchewan Huskies who earned first-team honours, was the only other player from the conference to be recognized.

Cross-Country

Kelly Wiebe, a fifth-year member of the Cougars cross-country and track and field team, placed 59th at the 39th IAAF world cross-country championships last Sunday in Punta Umbría, Spain.

Wiebe finished the 12-kilometre course in a time of 36 minutes 39 seconds. He was the second Canadian runner to cross the line.

“It’s exciting to have a U of R athlete perform at such a high level on the international stage,” said Cougars head coach Bruce McCannel in a media release. “He has cemented himself as one of the top distance runners in Canada and in the CIS. With next year being a slow year on the national cross-country circuit, I look forward to Kelly focusing his efforts to on-track performances for us.”

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