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ROOKIE SPOTLIGHT: Offensive lineman Tanner Bishop embraces opportunity at uOttawa

Wednesday August 30, 2017
Tanner Bishop on the line.
Photo: 
Michael P. Hall

If there is one thing that Tanner Bishop has learned since graduating high school, it is that good things can come to those who wait.

Although he was not pursuing a formal education after high school, Bishop was working full-time and suiting up for the Kamloops Broncos of the British Columbia Football League.

For the Vernon, BC native, his experience in junior football was a rewarding one, bettering himself as a player, and getting life experience that could help him transition to the next step.

“When Coach Carl and Coach Barresi got in contact with me, it was almost a no-brainer, because it was something I always wanted to do,” he said. “I think that if I would have come right out of high school, I wouldn’t have had much of a chance at starting.”

Bishop is content with the path he has taken to get to the Gee-Gees, although it was not the most conventional. He is still chasing the dreams he had in high school.

“I’ve always wanted to do post-secondary, but also be able to play at the next level,” said Bishop. “Not only do I get a better look at becoming a pro, but I also get an education, which is important because the reality is that football isn’t going to last forever.”

In camp, Bishop secured the starting job at right guard for the Gee-Gees, a breakthrough that was years in the making, but something that Bishop had worked particularly hard for this offseason.

“I was sent a 10-week offensive line workout program that I stuck right to. There were a lot of new movements, but I think it helped raise my athletic ceiling.”

His offseason prep was showcased in the team’s fitness testing, when he blew away the coaching staff with 28 consecutive reps of 225 lbs. in the bench press.

“I was a little upset,” said Bishop, who wanted to set a new team record. “The record is 31 and I wanted to get 32.”

Despite his feelings, his head coach was impressed by Bishop and the caliber of athlete his team has gained.

“He’s a really intense kid and quite a recruit,” said Gee-Gees head coach Jamie Barresi. “You see a guy that strong, they usually don’t come with the aerobic conditioning and anaerobic explosiveness, but he seems to have it all. It’s impressive to watch.”

Bishop is one of a group of new faces on the Gee-Gees offensive line this season. The team addressed a need for better run-blocking and protection for their quarterbacks, but with some injuries in camp and rust to shake off, the group is trying to mesh on the fly.

In the team’s season opening win over Guelph, the Gee-Gees quarterbacks were sacked 8 times, a signal of early growing pains for the line.

“As a unit we’re meshing well,” said Bishop before the game. “We’ve got some stuff to improve on.”

With some experience under the group’s belt, they are hoping for more success against Queen’s next week. With a wealth of size, experience, and power, it is only a matter of time before everyone clicks. Bishop is optimistic that it will happen sooner rather than later.

“Once we get momentum, we’re hoping to build on it and carry it through the rest of the season.”