The first of three bye weeks comes at a good time for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, as they enter Week 4 with a 2-1 record but plenty of bodies sidelined by the grind of the early stages of the 2023 Canadian Football League (CFL) campaign.
Yesterday, Roughriders Head Coach Craig Dickenson made his weekly appearance on the SportsCage with Michael Ball. He noted that the players earned their short break with their 29-26 OT win over the Calgary Stampeders on Saturday.
“We’re a little beat up right now .” said the Roughriders head coach.
“Even though it’s early in the season, I think these five days off for players us going to serve them well.”
Left tackle Jerald Hawkins went down during the second quarter on Saturday. Dickenson said Hawkins is suffering from a quad injury and will likely miss a few games, possibly more.
The former LSU Tiger was making his debut for the Roughriders against the Stampeders after leaving the team during training camp to attend to a personal matter.
It looks like the green and white receiving group dodged a couple of bullets after Week 3 as Dickenson said Jake Wieneke, who was hobbling after the game, should be ok and that Samuel Emilus should be fine as he battled a shoulder injury. Saskatchewan has already lost Kian Schaffer-Baker, Brayden Lenius and Derel Walker to long-term injuries.
On the first play of the game against the Stampeders, safety Nelson Lokombo went down with a shoulder injury. The Riders head coach said the severity of the injury is still to be determined.
Finding the Kicking Groove
It has been an up-and-down start to the 2023 season for kicker Brett Lauther.
So far this year, the 32-year-old is 7/11 in field goal attempts.
On Saturday, Lauther struggled to begin the game missing a field goal and an extra point against the Stampeders.
The kicker would settle down in overtime, kicking both field goals as Saskatchewan held on for a three-point win over their divisional rivals.
Dickenson said while he still has faith in Lauther, he noted there are some things he can work on.
“I feel there’s a few little things we could do with his technique and specifically the pace of his approach, I think he’s a little quick and I think he knows that to, but he’s not off by much.”
When the chips are down and the game is on the line, the Roughriders head coach wouldn’t want anyone else at kicker for the green and white.
“He just has a way of kind of dialing in his focus at the right time.”
Even though he has gotten off to the start that he would like, Dickenson believes Lauther will bounce back and find his groove.
Saturday Night Thriller
The victory on Saturday against the Stampeders had many exciting moments that were enjoyable for all those watching.
Dickenson said that Saskatchewan’s victory over Calgary was one that should be showcased by the league.
“This is our game, this is how exciting and entertaining CFL football was, I just felt fortunate to be a part of such a good game.”
It won’t be long before the two teams meet in a rematch. The Roughriders will host the Stampeders at Mosaic Stadium on Saturday, July 15.
Saskatchewan will return to action on Thursday, July 6 when they host the Edmonton Elks.