There is a lot of mystery at this point on who will be the Saskatchewan Roughriders starting quarterback when they begin the season on June 11 in Edmonton.
Entering his third year with the Roughriders, Mason Fine is looking forward to competing for the position when the team begins training camp this May.
The Riders quarterback was a guest on Tuesday’s edition of the SportsCage with Michael Ball.
Fine said his goal entering the 2022 season was to build off his rookie campaign as he continued to make the transition to the professional game.
At the beginning of his sophomore year with the Riders entrenched as the backup, the North Texas product was hoping to provide Saskatchewan with a solid backup plan at quarterback. He felt that he got off on the right foot.
“I think I had a great training camp to start off the season and I really think I took some strides there with all of the reps that I got. ”
Last season, Fine saw the majority of his action in three games. He came in relief for Cody Fajardo against the BC Lions on August 19 and was the team’s starting quarterback for their final two games of the season against the Calgary Stampeders. The QB ended the season with 690 passing yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions.
The 25-year-old hopes to take his game to another new level in 2023.
“I think I made great strides from 2021 to 2022, now I need to take a bigger step forward and get better overall as a quarterback.”
There is plenty of intrigue at the quarterback position for the Roughriders. It appears that Fajardo will not receive a contract offer from Saskatchewan ahead of free agency as they explore the QB market. The likely top option in free agency, Bo-Levi Mitchell, decided to sign with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Tuesday, removing himself from contention.
An advantage Fine has over the contenders for the starting job, is his experience with the team’s coaching staff. The Locust Grove, OK. product believes he has the support of people within the organization and are putting him in a place to succeed.
“I’ve been given the opportunity there in Saskatchewan and they gave me opportunities on and off the field.”
Kelly Jeffrey was named the Roughriders offensive coordinator last month. Fine says that Jeffrey has indicated that competition for the starting position will be “wide open” as the team will look to add at least one additional veteran option before training camp.
One game that the backup quarterback could not answer the bell in 2022 was against the Blue Bombers when the team suffered a flu bug on September 30. He said that he never experienced anything like the illness in Winnipeg.
“The doctors said I had it worst than everyone else on that football team.” Fine said he wanted to play that day but probably would have passed out on the sidelines.
Looking back, the third-year Rider believes Fajardo was a good teammate who always tried to put him in the best position to win.
“He made that transition from college to professionally really, really easy. He helped me with any questions, how to study, kind of how Ricky Ray did things and what he learnt from him and he passed that on to me.”
Besides Fine, the current quarterbacks listed on the Roughriders roster under contract for 2023 are Jake Dolegala, Levi Lewis and Zerrick Cooper.