Many in Riderville are looking at the glass slightly half full after the Saskatchewan Roughriders split their opening two games of the 2023 Canadian Football League (CFL) regular season.
On Friday, the Roughriders were defeated by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 45-28, but the green and white pushed the Blue Bombers to the limit deep into the second half before Winnipeg pulled away.
Roughriders Head Coach Craig Dickenson felt there were some positives and negatives from the team’s first loss.
On Monday, the Saskatchewan head coach made his weekly appearance on the SportsCage with Sean Kleisinger. filling in for Michael Ball.
Despite dealing with several injuries during the matchup with the Blue Bombers, Dickenson expressed his satisfaction with how his team fought back.
“I was really proud of how the guys rallied the next man up was happening across the board and we had guys like Micah Johnson, Larry Dean, even our third-string quarterback Shea Patterson coming up to Coach Maugeri and myself and saying where do you need me, I play wherever you need me on specials.”
The Roughriders head coach is expecting the green and white squad to face plenty of adversity.
“Never-say-die attitude is going serve us well this season.”
On the downside, Dickenson felt the back-breaker in the Roughriders loss was the 92-yard punt return by Winnipeg’s Janarion Grant. The Blue Bombers punt returner was able to elude several Roughriders on his way to a pivotal six points. Dickenson said they had a chance to prevent the big touchdown.
“I wished we had tackled him (Grant), we had more than enough opportunities to do that. We’ve showed the film on that and we’ve coached hard and hopefully that won’t happen again.”
Good Start from the Roughriders Starting Quarterback
Roughriders quarterback Trevor Harris threw for over 400 yards on Friday, even though he was battling a hip injury all week. Dickenson believed Harris was going to play in the Roughriders home opener.
“He was legitimately hurt going into this game, I felt like he would play just cause he told me that he would, so I planned it all along,but he didn’t get any practice, short week and came out and looked outstanding.”
Tevin Jones and Shawn Bane Jr. went over the 100-yard receiving mark against the Blue Bombers along with Samuel Emilus hauling in three touchdown receptions. Dickenson says the receivers and quarterback were on the same page on Friday night.
“It seemed like every ball he(Harris) threw that was a tough catch our guys caught it and then he threw some dimes in that game, really accurate.”
Reinforcements are on the way at the edge of the offensive line for the green and white.
Jerald Hawkins is set to return to the team after leaving to deal with a personal matter. During training camp, Hawkins was anticipated to take on the position of starting left tackle.
Colin Kelly is also eligible to join the Roughriders roster after serving his two-game suspension that was issued last season when he was with Hamilton Tiger-Cats for violating the league’s drug policy.
Dickenson said that both players will practice this week ahead of Saturday’s matchup against the Stampeders.
“I feel like our o-line as a group has done a pretty good job through two games, but boy, if we could get Hawk (Hawkins) at one tackle and Kelly at the other, I think that might give us a little bit better o-line but at the same time it maybe not, there still has to be good chemistry with that group.”
620 CKRM will have full coverage with Saturday’s game between the Roughriders and the Stampeders beginning with Countdown to Kickoff at 2:00, opening kickoff at 5:00.