Under cloudy skies and with a temperature of 18 degrees Celsius, the Saskatchewan Roughriders held their day-before walk-through at the University of Toronto’s Varsity Stadium on Friday. Saskatchewan faces Toronto on Saturday at 2:00 pm Sask Time at BMO Field.
Here are some notes:
1 – The Riders announced their roster for the Week 16 game. There are four changes from last week’s 18-17 win at Ottawa. IN: RB RB Trent Richardson, WR Naaman Roosevelt, LB Derrick Moncrief and DL Rakim Cox. OUT: LB Otha Foster, WR Antwane Grant, DL Antonio Longino, DL A.C. Leonard.
2 – By Saturday’s game, the Roughriders will have been on the road for 11 days in Eastern Canada. Head Coach & GM Chris Jones said the team is far from road-weary going into Saturday’s game.
“The guys got a lot of energy,” Jones told reporters. “If the meetings and the walk-through are any indication, they’ve got a lot of energy. So I look forward to seeing exactly how we come out of the gate tomorrow. But we’ve gotta be physical, do a good job of stopping their run game and be able to assert our run game.”
3 – QB Kevin Glenn agrees that the team is no worse for wear after so many days on the road.
“I think we’re feeling pretty good,” Glenn revealed. “Coach does a good job of saving our legs and doing what we need to do on, and off, the field. We’re prepared for the game. The guys feel good and we’re ready to go out and play.”
4 – The Argos boast rookie RB James Wilder Jr. who’s turned in some record-setting performances over the past month, and the Riders know they’ll need to be ready.
“We’ve got to get in our gaps,” Jones explained. “That’s the main thing. Ottawa – you can’t take anything away from what they did last week – they ran for 203 yards. There were some times, yes, that physically, they beat us. Their little running back did a great job of breaking tackles but at the same time, we compounded that by failing to execute little assignments like knowing our gaps, reading the guards, and folding over when we’re supposed to.”
5 – Saturday’s game features a rarity: It’s only the third time in CFL history that two quarterbacks with 100+ wins will oppose each other (Kevin Glenn vs Ricky Ray). The past two times, it was Anthony Calvillo against Damon Allen.
“You guys always give me the good stats!” Glenn smiled. “I think that’s awesome. It’s awesome to be able to play against a guy you came into the league with, at this juncture in our career. It says a lot. It’s cool to be a part of those kind of side notes in the CFL.”
6 – Meanwhile across town, the Argos were concurrently holding their pregame walk-through at a Catholic Secondary School. Head Coach Marc Trestman held a thoughtful media scrum with Toronto reporters and here are some notes from it:
– The Argos know who the Rider “game-breakers” are but they feel they match-up well. He felt back in July that Toronto matched up well, but Saskatchewan came out on top 37-28.
– Regarding CFL sack leader Willie Jefferson of Saskatchewan, Trestman said, “He’s everywhere” and “I really respect him”.
– Regarding establishing homefield advantage, Trestman said “I don’t believe in that stuff”. The 2-time Grey Cup winning coach said the field dimensions are the same in each CFL park and you have to line up and play the game regardless of where you’re playing.
– Trestman said Argo fans have “generally been loud, and been very, very supportive of us” however the fans can’t go out and play the game. He’d like to establish his team as a strong force both at home and on the road.
– Trestman said making the playoffs in Year 1 in Toronto was never discussed between GM Jim Popp and himself. He said they simply want to “Win The Process”, and “Win The Day”. He said “the process leads to what we all want”. Trestman said every team wants to advance to the Grey Cup, but winning the process is the focus in Toronto.
– Trestman said he doesn’t have a theory on the West Division’s dominance of the East Division this season. In fact he doesn’t even consider the league in terms of two divisions. His teams focus on each opponent one week at a time.