Bo Levi Mitchell saw his first Lilac Parade last weekend, and predictably found himself in the middle of it.
Never a bystander, the former Eastern Washington quarterback joined girlfriend Madison Hilpert and several other former Lilac Princesses as they waved to the crowds in downtown Spokane.
“You don’t really see you’re so busy with football and you don’t get to see that,” marveled Mitchell, who, sure enough, had to depart three days later for a quarterback camp in Calgary.
Alberta is home now, and has been for a year for the ex-Texan who led the Eagles to the FCS national title in 2010. Now with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League, Mitchell is a month away from the start of his second season as a pro.
To prepare, Mitchell has spent the past two months in Cheney, encouraging brother Cody – now a senior wideout with the Eagles – while in turn getting some tips from the Eagles coaching staff.
“This offseason, I achieved what I wanted to: to keep my head in the playbook and head into the season ahead of the crowd,” Mitchell said.
While in Cheney, Mitchell had a chance to look over old tapes, then get some pointers from head coach Beau Baldwin and quarterbacks coach Zak Hill.
“They came out and gave me some tips and what my throwing motion was then and now,” Mitchell said.
“You want to make sure you get back to the basics.”
Last season, the basics included running the ball on short-yardage situations, something that wasn’t exactly a staple at Eastern or Southern Methodist, where Mitchell started his college career.
“It was different, since all I did in college was throw the ball,” Mitchell said. “But taking care of the running responsibilities means selling out your body for the team.”
To that end, Mitchell had 34 carries for 67 yards, five touchdowns. He fumbled twice.
As a backup to starter Kevin Glenn, Mitchell completed 12 of 21 passes for 168 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions as the Stampeders went 12-6 and earned a spot in the 100th Grey Cup, where they lost 35-22 to the Toronto Argonauts.
“Obviously, everybody wants the same thing – they want to be the starter,” Mitchell said. “But you have to understand the situation and be the guy and help the team win.”
Calgary opens the preseason on June 14 against British Columbia. The teams will meet again in the regular-season opener on June 28 in Calgary.