Marvin Ross didn’t have to travel far to try-out for the Stampeders.
The Florida resident made the short trip to Stamps mini-camp that was held in that state earlier this year in hopes of earning a contract to come north for training camp.
“I was a local, I’m from Jacksonville,” said Ross. “So it was pretty easy to get down there and showcase my skills.”
While they were taking different routes to the Stampeders, Ross and his Cleveland Gladiators teammate Randy Colling were both hoping to latch on with the team at nearly the same time.
Once the dust settled on the CFL Draft where the team selected Colling and Ross’ contract was inked, the two were happy to have one another to lean on while in Calgary.
“When I was at the Florida workout, Randy called me and told me that there was a good chance that Calgary was going to draft him,” explained Ross. “Just prayed on it and it was good coming up here and knowing someone that I played with we shared blood together, won games together. It felt good knowing that I have a counterpart who I can depend on right off the bounce.”
It wasn’t long after the ink dried on the contract that Ross found himself on a plane to come to Stamps rookie camp.
Through a couple weeks of practice and a pre-season tilt Tuesday against the BC Lions, things are looking up for the 27-year old defensive back.
“Training camp is going good,” Ross said Friday, ahead of Sunday’s pre-season tilt in Edmonton. “It’s my first time in Canada, so it’s a good feeling coming out here and getting to know the guys and know the defence. We are just trying to get better every day and win this season.”
Although the 27-year old has no CFL experience, he’s played four years of university at Florida A&M, followed by three years with the Columbus Lions of the Professional Indoor Football league, and one year in the Arena Football League with the Cleveland Gladiators.
His experience in the AFL has helped him deal with playing against the waggle in coverage, which is something a lot of international players struggle with in the beginning.
But he’s still getting used to the larger field in the CFL.
“I played Arena last year, so adjusting to the waggle motion, it’s not that hard,” said Ross. “But with the field being longer and wider, it takes a lot more conditioning. I’ve just been trying to get my conditioning right and coming out playing some Calgary defence.”
Ross showed off his coverage skills on Tuesday, as he hauled in a big interception during the second quarter of the game. He returned the ball nine yards before being pushed out of bounds.
He also made three tackles in helping the Stamps beat the Lions 23-18.
“I was playing at the field half and I was just working with the technique that my coaches gave to me,” Ross said. “We were playing a certain coverage and I just trusted what I saw and I went out and got the ball.”
With just one more pre-season game on tap for the Stampeders, Ross knows he needs to keep working hard in pursuit of his goal to make the team.
“I’ve just got to play hard. You can’t really focus on making the team, just have to go out and do what the defence calls to do,” Ross said. “When the plays come, you’ve got to make them. You’ve got to be patient. The plays are going to come and when they come to you, you have to convert and make the play.”