The Roughriders held their final full practice of the week on Thursday as they prepare to visit the B.C. Lions Saturday night (8:00 pm, TSN, CKRM Radio Network).
The Lions are one of only two unbeaten CFL teams at home this season (3-0) and Rider Coach Chris Jones thinks he knows why.
“Well, Wally Buono, number one,” Jones said Thursday. “He hasn’t been the winningest coach of all time for being a bad football coach. He knows personnel, he knows how to get his team ready, and they certainly have improved over the course of the season.”
Zach Collaros will make his 4th start at QB for Saskatchewan, and Jones noted that Collaros is 2-1 as a starter in Green & White. Collaros came out of the Riders’ Week 2 loss in Ottawa when the game was tied 14-14. The 29-year old Ohio product knows the Riders will have their hands full Saturday night.
“They’re a good football team,” Collaros said. “They have a very good front four. They do a great job in the secondary, especially coming down and playing press-man. Travis Lulay is a winner and they have him back on offense. It’s going to be a tough one for us, especially at their place.”
Rider defensive tackle Mic’hael Brooks broke into the CFL with BC and says the Lions players take particular pride in playing at home.
“When I played there, we always got real hyped up about playing at home. Being in the dome,” Brooks said Thursday. “There’s not a lot of people there in the crowd, so it’s easy for the home team to focus.”
Brooks has found a home on the interior of the Riders’ defensive line, and is loving his time in Saskatchewan.
“I love it. I love the facilities,” Brooks smiled. “I love the team. My teammates are great. I’m happy for it actually to feel like football, with these facilities and things.”
Brooks said the club has moved quickly to move on from last week’s 40-27 home win over Calgary, and are eager to get to Vancouver and prove again that they are among the CFL’s elite.
“That was just one game,” Brooks concluded. “We need to play like that every week. We’re not surprised that we won. That’s what we prepare for and if we prepare like that every week, we’ll win a lot of games.”