Profiles: Riders new offensive line coach, Anthony Vitale

 

Anthony Vitale is returning to the spot where his coaching career in Canada began. After being named the new offensive line coach for the Saskatchewan Roughriders earlier this week.

Michael Ball had a chance to talk with the man who is tasked to look over the green and white offensive line next season on Friday’s edition of the SportsCage.

The Roughriders and Edmonton Elks have swapped offensive line coaches this offseason. Vitale was the Elks offensive line coach in 2021. Riders offensive line coach Stephen Sorrells replaced Vitale in December after he was let go by the Riders in November.

The first exposure to the Canadian Football League for the Riders new offensive line coach was his experience working as a guest coach for the Riders before receiving the Elks position.

Vitale is looking forward to returning to a place where he feels comfortable. He said a big reason why he wanted to come to Saskatchewan was because of the familiar faces that remain with the organization from this guest stint.

“I’ve had an affinity for the organization, for the city, a lot of people that are still on staff are very close friends. ”

This upcoming season the Riders new offensive line coach wants the green and white blockers to be mentally and physically tough.

“I think it permeates really any conversation about our group, our team, I think the foundational component is toughness.”

There are certain qualities that Vitale will be looking for in the offensive line.

“I want a group who plays tough, who plays relentless, with great effort, technically sound for sure but we want to be physical, we want to play fast, we want a set of rules so we can play fast, but we just want to battle. We want a bunch of guys who are going to fight for every inch.”

He adds that he wants to build a culture inside of the offensive line locker room.

Another appealing aspect for Vitale accepting the job with the Roughriders is the team’s fanbase.

He says he is looking forward to working with a group of fans that are passionate as the Roughriders.

“I think the gameday experience is a really cool thing.”

He enjoys going out for breakfast in the morning and finding people dressed in Roughriders gear, getting excited about the upcoming game. Vitale says the knowledge and passion you see from Riders fans can only be matched by the top college programs south of the border.

If Vitale can help improve an offensive line that allowed 77 sacks in 2022, there is no doubt the Riders fans will be happy to have the new offensive line coach on board with the green and white.

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