The Saskatchewan Roughriders host the BC Lions Saturday at 5:00 pm Sask Time knowing that a win will clinch them 2nd place in the tough CFL West.
Roughriders Head Coach & GM Chris Jones and QB Zach Collaros held their pregame news conferences Friday at Mosaic Stadium.
Here’s what they had to say:
ARE THE PLAYERS READY?
CJ: Well the guys know how hard they’ve worked. I just broke it down a little while ago and you could feel the energy’s there. We’ve gotta remember we really didn’t do anything special against Calgary. It’s not like we created new offenses and created new defenses. We went out and executed in a couple of phases. We’ve gotta play a little bit better defense and special teams.
IS IT HARD TO BELIEVE GAME 18 IS HERE?
CJ: Early in the year when we had all those bye weeks, it seemed very slow. Once they were over it seemed like it got a little bit faster.
HOW HAS LT TACOBY COFIELD COME AROUND?
CJ: Early in the year he was a little bit light. He was 278 or something like that. He’s continued to gain weight and be better physically than he was in minicamp. He’s a very intelligent young man and he’s a guy that football matters to him. He’s very level-headed and fun to be around.
WHAT’S BC DOING RIGHT?
CJ: They continue to put themselves in a manageable situation on 2nd down offensively. Ultimately they’ve been winning close football games with that ability to run the football and be physical. Travis Lulay is a tough out. He’s one of those guys who keeps coming back, and coming back. Over the past 3,4 years he’s had multiple injuries that would be career-ending to other players.
HAVE THE ADDITIONS OF SUTTON AND POSEY CHANGED THEIR TEAM?
CJ: They had some good players prior. Arceneaux’s a pretty good player too. Devier’s come in and basically replaced Arceneaux as their deep threat. Certainly the big running back Sutton, his yards after catch are something. He’s not flashy but you think you’ve done a good job of defending him but you look up and it’s 2nd-and-3.
ARE YOU HAPPY WITH YOUR RECORD?:
CJ: I’m proud of ’em. We’ve certainly weathered some dark moments where people didn’t give us much credit and rightfully so. At times in all three phases, it looked very bleak. But our players have worked very hard. They work hard in the weight room, they come to work hard in practice everyday and they’re a fun group to be around. We’re a pretty resilient bunch.
YOU COULD MEET BC AGAIN. DO YOU SAVE A LITTLE?
CJ: We’re going to try to win the football game. We’re not sitting here trying to hide anything. This is a very important game for our organization, for our team’s psyche. We’ve got a bye week next week so we want to play our best football possible.
QB ZACH COLLAROS
HOW EXCITED IS THE TEAM?
ZC: Guys are definitely excited to play. These past few weeks have been playoff atmospheres with a lot on the line. I thought we had a really good week of practice. Guys are focused and understand the expectations. Guys are ready to go.
ARE YOU FOCUSED ON ODELL WILLIS AND SHAWN LEMON?
ZC: That’s be a question more for the offensive line but we understand what those two bring to the table. Coleman in the middle is having a heckuva season. Really as a defense as a whole, they’re a really fun group to watch on film and a really good group. They’re gonna be tough to play against. We know from playing them earlier in the year and they’ve only gotten better. It’s going to be a challenge for sure.
WHAT DOES THE ADDITION OF NAAMAN ROOSEVELT MEAN?
ZC: It’s huge. Anytime you can get a veteran out there with you, who’s been in moments like this, because not everything’s going to go the way you plan it. When adversity hits, it’s nice to have someone out there who’s faced something similar to that and understands those moments. Whether it’s saying a few things, or the way he carries himself, it calms guys down.
CAN YOU COMPARE JEFFERSON/HUGHES TO WILLIS/LEMON?
ZC: They’re probably different styles of guys. Willie being 6’8″ is always tough. When we’re only bringing three guys and he’s waiting to bat the ball down, he brings a different thing. Charleston is very savvy out there. He understands the game very well. From going against Odell and Shawn for a long time, both those guys are vets who understand the game very well. They can beat you with their skill or their knowledge of the game, understanding where the QB will step up in the pocket.
WILL YOU WATCH THE CALGARY-WINNIPEG GAME TONIGHT?
ZC: It doesn’t change anything for us tomorrow. We have to take care of our business and we’re here to win a game and protect our own field. That won’t change. Whatever happens tonight won’t change anybody’s mindset.