Both the Saskatchewan Roughriders (2-3) and BC Lions (4-2) held their day-before walk-thru’s in Vancouver prior to Saturday’s meeting at BC Place (5:00 pm, TSN, 620 CKRM Rider Radio Network). The Riders held theirs at Vancouver College while the Lions practiced at BC Place.
Afterwards, both teams met with the media.
“We’re looking forward to the game,” said Lions Head Coach & GM Wally Buono, “Especially after the disappointing game last week in Edmonton. As I’ve said all week, I don’t think we did a good enough job of coaching or playing. You’ve got to give the Eskimos credit but now it’s a new week and obviously playing at home, in front of our fans, is always a treat for us.”
Buono said the improving Roughriders will provide a big test.
“It’s time we get back on track and play a much better game against a team that’s really making improvements every week,” Buono continued. “You can see the confidence building from the Riders. The personnel’s better. All three facets of their team are playing better. When you look at the West Division, it’s a very, very competitive situation no matter who you’re playing.”
Roughriders’ Head Coach & GM Chris Jones was asked how his team will avoid a letdown like their Week 5 loss in Calgary (27-10). It’s a similar scenario; Saskatchewan was coming off a big home win only to line up against tough West Division opponent on the road.
“They’re very similar football teams,” Jones said of the Lions and Stampeders. “They’re built around being physical. They want to run the football first and we’ve talked about it all week. We have to do a good job in our coverages – making sure we’ve got deep defenders – not giving up uncontested big plays. Offensively we have to protect our QB and I think if we do that, and establish the run, we’ll have success. We can’t get behind the 8-ball.”
Rider receiver Duron Carter was a popular target of reporters as well as Lions defensive backs on Friday. Some members of the Lions secondary said they’re licking their chops at the notion of shutting down Carter, who was named CFL Player of the Week after a 131-yard, 2-touchdown performance last week against Toronto.
“I bet! The last game I did a little something,” Carter laughed. “It’s all fun and games. No matter what’s said before the game, we still have to go out and play a full game. I own that part of it. It’s all fun. I like to talk trash and we’ll see what happens.”
Carter said the idea of Lions defenders running their mouths is a bit of a surprise.
“BC plays a lot of zone,” Carter smirkd. “For the DBs to be saying anything is kinda crazy to me. They play back deep and try to funnel everything into Solomon (Elimimian). Hopefully we can break some tackles and bust some big gains.”