“You got to put your head down and work.” Roughriders RB Frankie Hickson is ready to turn his season around

The 2023 season hasn’t gone according to plan for Saskatchewan Roughriders running back Frankie Hickson, but with five games remaining, there is still time for him to write a happy ending to the year.

Last season, Hickson emerged as one-half of the Roughriders two-headed monster at running back alongside Jamal Morrow, with both players finishing in the top 10 overall for the league leaders in rushing.

The former Liberty Flame finished with 533 rushing yards and was named Saskatchewan’s Most Outstanding Rookie in 2022.

RB Frankie Hickson. Photo: Blaine Weyland

This season, the second-year running back hasn’t been able to get on track, with 58 rushing yards over an 8-game span. Hickson’s highest single-game total for rushing yards in 2023 was back in Week 1 in Edmonton, where he picked up 19 yards. The only other time he has reached double digits for rushing yards (11) was in Week 5 against Calgary.

Injuries and the ratio numbers have also forced the 26-year-old to the sidelines at various points.

But just like coming off a loss, Hickson is focused on moving forward instead of turning back and remains upbeat about this season.

“You got to put your head down and work.” said the running back. “This province and this city is largely on working hard and that’s no different than what we have to do for the rest of the season.”

Head Coach Craig Dickenson said it was a tough decision when they kept Hickson out of the lineup.

“First of he’s a good football player and I know he can help us and he’s a good dude.”

There may be more opportunities for Hickson, with Morrow missing the first two days of practice this week.

Dickenson says the team is optimistic about Morrow being in the starting lineup against Ottawa.

He adds that the Roughriders running game can improve.

“I do feel like we got a good run game, for some reason we had those one or two plays that are negative runs.”

The Riders head coach said a focus this week was to eliminate the negative plays.

Even if Morrow does return in time for Friday’s game, Hickson feels it’s very beneficial for him to get the starting snaps at practice this week.

“Any time you have the opportunities to go with your ones, it definitely makes you more prepared for the week to come, it definitely puts you in a better place to begin the game.”

Hickson is expecting a tough matchup against the REDBLACKS. Ottawa’s defence is ranked second against the run, averaging 77.6 yards per game. In their first matchup back on August 6, the REDBLACKS limited the Roughriders ground game to 66 yards.

“That defensive line is a great defensive line and as well that’s a good coaching staff over there.”

He also noted the REDBLACKS record (3-10) is misleading based on the team’s talent.

“You can’t really get bogged down in records, ours included, everybody can go out on game day, someone’s going to win, someone’s going to lose, it really depends on what you do throughout the week that determines that.”

Coverage of Friday’s game on 620 CKRM begins at 2:00 with Countdown to Kickoff, the opening kickoff is set for 5:00.

Practice Notebook

  • Morrow was present at the end of practice, not in football equipment. Dickenson hopes to have the starting running back on the field on Wednesday.
  • DE Pete Robertson (back) also missed practice on Tuesday but observed from the sidelines. Dickenson is optimistic that Robertson will suit up on Friday.
  • Other players who did not participate, DL Anthony Lanier II (Hip), DL Miles Brown (Groin),LB Justin Herdman-Reed (Quad), DB Deontai Williams (Hamstring), DE Nic Dheilly (Foot), Nelson Lokombo (Knee), and LB T.J. Brunson (Ankle)

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