With a roster cutdown looming, Roughriders will be faced with some tough choices

 

Difficult decisions are awaiting the Saskatchewan Roughriders following the third day of practice at training camp on Tuesday.

All rosters in the Canadian Football League need to be reduced to 75 players by the end of tomorrow despite many players getting a limited opportunity in camp.

Head Coach Craig Dickenson said during his weekly appearance on The SportsCage with Michael Ball on Monday that it’s an unfortunate situation for the players. With the players strapping on the pads for the first time at camp on Tuesday, Dickenson hopes some players will separate themselves from the pack.

For the 75 players that survive the initial roster cutdown at training camp, time will become beneficial for them as the Roughriders do not open up the preseason until Saturday, May 27 at home against the BC Lions.

With an extra week of preparation before their first action against an opposing team, Dickenson wants to spend extra time introducing the players to the team’s system before the physical activity increases.

“We feel we have enough time to get them in four quarter game shape, we can be a little bit of a teach progression. ”

One thing that has impressed the Riders head coach in the early portion of training camp is the team’s character. He noted that no players have shown up late at practice, defensive players have been flying to the football and the entire team has displayed a positive attitude at camp.

Dickenson added, “I really like the character of our group, now we just got to see if they can play.”

Offensive Line Depth 

One of the main items on the Roughriders to-do list in the off-season was to solidify the depth of the team’s offensive line. It was evident on draft night a couple of weeks ago that Saskatchewan was successful in their plan during free agency as they did not use an early-round selection on an offensive lineman.

Along with the starters, Dickenson has been pleased with the work of the younger offensive linemen. He pointed out that Logan Bandy has gotten bigger after spending a significant amount of time in the weight room.

Zack Fry is another player that spent some time bulking up in the off-season according to Dickenson, he added Fry can bring versatility to the line with his ability to play guard and centre.

Diego Alatorre-Montoya started off camp dealing with a hamstring injury but his status has improved over the last couple of days.

Dickenson believes the Roughriders have the pieces for a strong offensive line.

“We feel like it’s a decent group in terms of skillset, they’re big strong dudes now we just have to get them playing together.

Early Impressions From the 2023 Draft Class

After a quick crash course last week in rookie camp, the Riders 2023 draft class including defensive lineman Lake Korte-Moore and safety Jaxon Ford are getting their first taste of action against the professionals this week in Saskatoon.

Dickenson has been pleased with the rookies so far at camp. He said Korte-Moore faired well in the one-on-ones and will bring versatility to the team with his play on defence and special teams. The Ottawa native even took some snaps as the team’s long snapper on Tuesday.

Ford has improved every day according to Dickenson. He feels Ford has a pro mentality which is likely the effect of growing up as the grandson of former Rider player and general manager Al Ford.

“Couldn’t be happy with those first two picks.” said the Riders head coach.

 

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