During training camp in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Roughrider quarterback Trevor Harris proclaimed the team had at least five players capable of 1,000 receiving yard seasons.
While injuries and possible lineup adjustments will likely prevent that from happening in 2023, the Saskatchewan Roughriders have benefited from the efforts of their receiving unit in the early portion of this year.
On Friday, Tevin Jones and Shawn Bane Jr. went over the 100-yard receiving mark in Saskatchewan’s 45-27 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, with Samuel Emilus contributing with three touchdown receptions.
The green and white will likely have to rely on the trio for an extended amount of time with the long-term injuries to Kian Schaffer-Baker, Brayden Lenius and Derel Walker. All three players have been placed on the Roughriders six-game injured list.
Harris is expecting the production to continue from the current Saskatchewan receiving group.
“There are guys who are going to produce, they hit the right spots, they get separation at the top of their routes, and for me, it’s my job to make sure I deliver the ball to them.”
Head coach Craig Dickenson noted that Emilus should benefit from a big boost of confidence with the three touchdown catches he made a week after he was unable to make a touchdown catch in Edmonton.
“He got an award for us on offence, in terms we give out player of the game, he got it, he had a great game and I think his confidence is just growing, I think you’re going to see more good games from Sam.”
After the game against the Blue Bombers, the second-year receiver said he spent time in his rookie campaign readjusting to the Canadian game.
“Going back to the waggle and the field size and the name of the plays and everything.”
Emilus added he spent the year observing the veteran receivers like Schaffer-Baker, Shaq Evans and Duke Williams.
With Walker out of the lineup, Jones was able to step up with his best game to date in Saskatchewan in his place with the nine catch, 121-yard performance on Friday. He said that the longtime veteran provided plenty of guidance to help him out.
“He was talking through everything, putting my eyes where he would be, I really appreciated that.”
Jones is anticipating an expanded role in the coming weeks.
“My role is to do all that I can to help win this game. That’s it, that’s been my role since I got here, that’s always going to be my role.”
Since joining the Roughriders last season, the former Memphis Tiger has been a special teams standout he says that he carries the mentality of special teams over to offence.
“My mindset is to go out there and beat the man in front of me, whether that’s on offence, on special teams or anything, I’m just trying to go out there to compete.”
Dickenson noted Jones is another receiver that can take his game to another level for Saskatchewan.
“I think he’ll grow and get better each week. ”
Bane Jr. will return to his former stomping grounds of McMahon Stadium on Saturday when the Roughriders meet the Calgary Stampeders. He said last week ahead of the matchup with the Blue Bombers that he was ready if the opportunities were heading his way.
“If the coaches draw up the plays I will, that will be fine with me.”
- On the injury front, defensive end Lake Korte-Moore was the only player who returned to practice on Wednesday after missing Tuesday’s workout. Still missing in action were defensive linemen Anthony Lanier, Demarcus Christmas, Nic Dheilly, defensive backs Rolan Milligan, Jayden Dalke, fullback Albert Awachie, and receiver Juwan Brescacin. Dickenson is optimistic that Saskatchewan will get some more players back into the lineup on Saturday.
- For the second straight day at practice, Jerald Hawkins took the snaps at left tackle with Colin Kelly taking the snaps at right tackle.
- Earlier in the day, the Roughriders agreed to a contracts with a pair of Canadians. Linebacker Brian Harlelimana was a former fourth-round pick of the Montreal Alouettes back in 2020. The Roughriders also signed defensive back Kosi Onyeka who spent time with the team last season.