After practice on the day Rob Bagg returned to the Roughriders, he sat down at the centre of the field for a chat with quarterback Zach Collaros.
The two CFL veterans had never played before but had always had a mutual admiration for one another.
Now the two have developed a valued friendship.
“I’m just constantly bouncing ideas off of him and I think it’s the same for him,” Bagg said after practice on Thursday. “He kind of tries to gauge where our receiver group is at in terms of understanding what we’re trying to accomplish that particular week based on how I see things.”
Bagg’s take on things has become especially important to Collaros as he works with a young receiver corps made up of rookies Shaq Evans, Kyran Moore and Jordan Williams-Lambert.
“Robbie’s been in this league for a long time, seen all the different coverages and with a lot of the routes we’re not asking guys to change their routes but there are things that they can do to open themselves up a little more,” said Collaros. “There is nobody else better who have out there than Robbie for an understanding of that.”
“Rob has been like another coach, somebody who has played in the league for a very long time has a lot to bring to young receivers like me and the rest of the guys” added Williams-Lambert. “Just having an idea of what to do because it’s different hearing from a coach and quarterback when you can hear it from a receiver that has done it for so long … it’s a big help for all of us.”
It’s not something new for Bagg, though. His friendship with Darian Durant was long documented and he added he had a good relationship with Kevin Glenn last year and with some of the other young quarterbacks who have come in over the 10 years that Bagg has been a Roughrider.
It’s something Bagg has seen bear fruit over the years.
“If you respect the guy you’re throwing it to or respect or admire the guy you’re catching the ball for you just get a better effort whether you intend to or not,” Bagg said. “I think there’s just a level of accountability when you care about somebody that creates a different dynamic and a different level of expectation.”
Throughout his career, Bagg has been a steady hand for all the quarterbacks he’s played with. He’s racked up 364 catches for 4,705 yards and 24 touchdowns. He earns an average of 12.9 yards a catch – more than enough for a first down.
He’s still got that fight in him. Bagg takes pride in his mentor role, but he wants more and hopes more is still out there for him.
“I would say I’m embracing the role, I wouldn’t say I’m relishing in it. I’m just going out there to continue to work and hopefully, I’ll get an opportunity sometime.”
With all the work he’s put in, there’s many in the Rider Nation that hope so too.