The Saskatchewan Roughriders practiced with pumped in crowd noise on Wednesday at Mosaic Stadium as they prepare for Saturday’s Banjo Bowl at Winnipeg.
The Green & White are expecting a raucous atmosphere at Investors Group Field as they gun for a fourth straight victory, and a sweep of their prairie rivals in this back-to-back series. Saskatchewan downed Winnipeg 31-23 in Sunday’s Labour Day Classic in Regina.
“It’s always annoying, but it’s something you have to do,” Rider QB Zach Collaros said of practicing with crowd noise. “Winnipeg is an amazing place to play. It’s very loud in there so we’ll have to work our silent counts, be able to go on ‘2’, all those different things that you can do when you’re at home, right?
“That was the main focus of the day obviously, with some of the new install we put in. I thought the guys did a good job but you do kind of get a headache after awhile.”
The Riders are 6-8 all-time since the Banjo Bowl’s inception in 2004, with Winnipeg winning 48-28 last year.
“Each year is a different thing,” Collaros continued. “I’m not a huge believer in history repeating itself. It’s always a new group of guys. If we’re able to remain focused no matter what happens, if they jump on us early the crowd’s going to be involved.
“We have to be able to stay even and focused on the task at hand. In this league, you’re never really out of a game. No matter what happens it’s going to be a crazy environment, especially in those first 5-10 minutes.”
Meanwhile the Roughriders appear to have found a new goalline quarterback. Rookie cornerback Nick Marshall scored a pair of rushing touchdowns from the QB position in Sunday’s win over Winnipeg.
The Auburn star texted Head Coach Chris Jones during the club’s bye week last month, saying he’d be willing to handle those situations since the team was struggling to get the ball over the goalline.
“I’m having very fun being on both sides of the ball!” Marshall smiled on Wednesday. “I’m used to having the football in my hands. Just for Coach Jones to give me an opportunity to be versatile for this team, is very awesome.”
The Riders visit the Blue Bombers Saturday at 2:00 pm Sask Time on TSN and the CKRM Rider Radio Network.