Riders HC Craig Dickenson: Outside noise is just “scuttlebutt”



The only thing hotter than summertime heat in Saskatchewan is the pressure inside the Saskatchewan Roughriders locker room.

Even with a 26-24 win over the Ottawa REDLACKS on Sunday, the tension has not eased up heading into Week 10 of the 2023 Canadian Football League regular season.

In a short week, head coach Craig Dickenson joined Michael Ball on Monday with his weekly appearance on the SportsCage.

Despite the thrilling victory, there was plenty of unrest in Rider Nation on Sunday night. Saskatchewan was leading 23-11 in the final moments of the third quarter but found themselves trailing 24-23 with 50 seconds remaining and had to rely on a 54-yard field goal from Brett Lauther with 32 seconds remaining in regulation to secure a win.

Dickenson told Ball that he does hear the criticism, but adds that it’s come with the territory of being a head coach for a professional football team.

“If you can’t take it in stride, you’re probably not cut out for this job.”

According to the head coach of the Roughriders, it’s the dedication of Rider Nation that makes them great.

“They got fans that are very passionate and they, they know what should be going on here, if you’re not sure just ask them. ”

But there’s only one group whose opinions matter to Dickenson.

“The reality is the only opinions that matter to me are the ones that come from inside of this building and come from our players .”

To Dickenson, the views and thoughts outside the team’s facility are just “scuttlebutt.”


Tough Yards 

There were positives and negatives to take away from the offensive line’s performance against Ottawa.

Dickenson credited the Roughrider’s blocking O-line against the REDBLACKS’s pass rush but also noted that Ottawa did a good job of preventing the green and white running game from getting on track on Sunday.

“They (Riders Offensive line) had one of their best games in pass protection, they gave zero sacks, we finished six of our own in that game but the short yardage does stick out.

Saskatchewan’s struggles in short yardage were magnified during the fourth quarter on Sunday. With just over two minutes, Dickenson elected to gamble on a third and one, but quarterback Jake Dolegala was denied on his quarterback sneak attempt. As a result of the turnover, Ottawa was in automatic field goal range and was able to kick a go-ahead field goal with just over a minute remaining in the game.

Even with the disastrous result, Dickenson has no regrets about going for it.

“I do it a 100 out of a 100 times. If you punt in that situation they’re almost in field goal range once they catch and now they can use a lot of clock, kick a field goal and you don’t have a lot of time to respond to that.”

The Riders head coach continued, “I felt like that was the right move and it worked out honestly exactly like I thought it would.”

Another short yardage miscue for Saskatchewan during the fourth quarter was when Dolegala fumbled a sneak attempt, with the REDBLACKS Douglas Coleman III scooping up the loose ball and returned it for a 45-yard touchdown.


Extra Rest

It will be a quick turnaround for the Roughriders this week as they travel to Montreal on Thursday before meeting the Alouettes on Friday. With the extra travel in a short amount of time, Dickenson will rely on extra rest for the player’s bodies.

“It’s going to be one practice week for us, we’re going to really emphasis making sure we do a good job of looking at film and taking care of our bodies and getting our rest and hopefully be as fresh as we can be, five days is not a lot time between games. The approach we’re taking is we’ll sacrifice some on field stuff to try to make sure we’re well rested and our bodies are where they need to be for this game.”


On Friday the Riders will square off with the Alouettes in Montreal. Coverage on 620 CKRM begins with Countdown to Kickoff at 2:30, the opening kickoff at 5:30.



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