Friday’s homecoming game could have extra special meaning for Riders Kienan LaFrance


The depth of the running backs of the Saskatchewan Roughriders will be tested this week when the green and white meet the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

With Frankie Hickson likely done for the rest of the season with a fractured wrist and Jamal Morrow still out for a couple of more of weeks with his injury, the Riders will likely have to rely on the combination of Shuan Wilson and Kienan LaFrance to lead the Saskatchewan rushing attack for the immediate future.

It will be a big hole for the Riders to fill, currently Morrow and Hickson rank fourth and fifth respectively in the CFL’s leaders in rushing. As a team, Saskatchewan ranks third overall in rushing yards, as they average 106.5 rushing yards per game. Only the Blue Bombers and Stampeders have rushed for more yards than the Riders this season.

After practice on Tuesday, Riders head coach Craig Dickenson says it will be a running back by committee approach when the team return to action this week.

If LaFrance would get the start for the Riders, it would mark his first time in the Saskatchewan starting lineup  since his initial stint with the organization. Back in 2017, LaFrance had 273 yards rushing along with 123 yards receiving with three touchdowns for the green and white. The 31 year old rejoined the Riders before the 2019 season after spending the 2018 campaign in Winnipeg.

The running back says he would be excited if was he starting on Friday after he spent the majority of the last three seasons playing special teams.

“That’s why we play ball right, to get out there to get an opportunity to play, do what you do, so I’m excited to get out there and contribute to the guys.” He added that so far he put in a good week of practice.

Since LaFrance possesses strong blocking skills, Dickenson says the running back may be asked to help out with the offensive line this week in providing pass protection against the tough pass rush of the Blue Bombers.

Wilson is other half of the possible running back tandem for Saskatchewan, LaFrance says he has been spending time with Wilson trying to get the newcomer familiar with the Riders offensive schemes.

Even though he may see more team playing offence, LaFrance still believes that special teams plays a vital role in determining the wins and losses in football.

“They play a big part in swaying the direction of the game, it compliments the offence and defence, but it’s definitely an important part.” So far this season, the running back has collected four special team tackles for Saskatchewan.

Along with the possibility of starting at running back on Friday, playing in Winnipeg is always special for the former Manitoba Bison.

“It’s always fun, playing in front of friends and family being out there in the stadium, it’s a great place to play so looking forward to this game.”

Back in 2017, LaFrance led the Riders rushing attack in the Labour Day classic rematch in Winnipeg as he picked up 49 yards on the ground and a touchdown.

Gameday coverage for Friday’s game between the Riders and Bombers begins at 3:00 on 620 CKRM with Countdown to Kickoff, Michael Ball will have the opening kickoff at 6:00.



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