Luc’s thoughts and thank you

A quick review of our KPIs from last weeks Edmonton Primer tells us A LOT… 

As a summary, we talked about Marc Muellers in-game scheme rollout. Resounding success there. Mueller dialed up plays the got the team into the end zone, specifically after defensive turnovers. Teams have to score TOUCHDOWNS to win Grey Cups. Kicking pts should only be an auxiliary. The Riders got 4 offensive TDs. I loved the aggressive approach in the opponents territory. That was a good Edmonton Defence that’s going to be one of the best in the CFL. 

We also mentioned getting pressure on the QB with four down linemen instead of having to lean heavily on the blitz. The Riders did that. As a matter of fact, it closed the game out for them.

Finally, we talked about the team having to be disciplined and not get in their own way…nobody’s perfect, I guess? We’ll carry that theme over, because teams that can’t figure this phase out will be on the outside looking in during meaningful football in October.

Week 2 is all about getting better and dealing with adversity whether it’s roster changes, or correcting opportunities seen on film from week 1. 

Let’s look at two extremely important KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for success against a well-coached Hamilton TiCats squad. 

KPI 1: SK needs to OWN THE RUN GAME…Defensively, the Riders did a fantastic job of stopping the run last week, and it’ll be the #1 priority vs the TiCats that are going to need to prioritize James Butler in order to support their pass game. On the offensive side of the ball for the green and white, it’s all about the 2nd level. What I mean by that is that with a battering ram like AJ Ouellette, the offensive line needs to allow him to get some momentum going prior to breaking tackles or cutting. Edmonton did a great job of not allowing Ouellette the opportunity to do any of that. He was running into hurdles the moment he touched the football, which is the easiest way to stop a big back from having an impact on the game. Let’s get AJ up to the 2nd level where the LBs are before needing to cut or break a tackle. At the very least, lets Thors legs some forward momentum. Four quarters of THAT type of run  attack is a nightmare for the opposition. 

KPI 2: START FAST…The TiCats are celebrating their 1999 Championship team this weekend. Just like Edmonton rolled out the 70% of the CFL’s Hall of Fame last week. When teams get their past Champions in the facility and around the current players, practises become a bit more meaningful and a motivating sense of perspective becomes present because one realizes the magnitude of what has comes before you, and will come after. All that to say, it provides a little more juice to guys who take the field on game day: 

With all due respect ladies and gentlemen…**** THAT!!!

Nothing’s better than walking into someone’s party, knocking the cake across the room before the candles have been blown out and proclaiming, “Party’s over Grandpa!” Start fast on Sunday. Take the crowd out of it early, and let the legends of yesteryear realize how fortunate they are to be on the sidelines and not on the field. Every story needs a villain but every Championship team, needs to become Road Warriors and play with a bit of a Brock Lesner-type edge. #UnPlugTheBand

A QUICK THANK YOU….This week the Plaza of Honour Inductees for 2024 were announced. Admittedly, I don’t know much about Steve Molnar but I’m excited for his family and friends because it’s a huge honour. Congratulations! 

Fortunately I do know the other two guys extremely well. Darian Durant is my brother. We’ve been friends since 2006 when he came to SK fresh off of a record-setting career at the University of North Carolina. Kitwana Jones (another UNC Alum) introduced us all to D-Block and it was on from that point. It seems odd to say for some reason, but anyone who shared a locker room with Doubles that year or beyond can tell you that the Plaza of Honour was always going to be the exclamation point in his incredible career. He’s everything one would want in a locker room leader- on and off the field. There’s nobody better💯

The common denominator that ties a fair amount of the “Decade of Decadence” players together is Roy Shivers. I want to thank Roy.

The Luc Mullinder that came from Ontario via Michigan State University- to Saskatchewan- isn’t supposed to be here. There’s no way that kid should’ve played Pro Ball, let alone for a nearly a decade. I can dam sure promise you that THAT kid definitely shouldn’t be calling games for the flagship franchise in the CFL. He didn’t even have the vocabulary range to pull that off. There’s no way that THAT Luc Mullinder was cut out to be an Executive in a National Organization that employs thousands of people across the Country and helps even more people all over the world. 

THAT kid needed to grow up. That kid needed to be avoided. That kid had more flags than the Albert St bridge in YQR. 

Fortunately that kid got a chance that he probably didn’t deserve. Roy Shivers decided I was worth a second look and drafted him 32nd overall, in 2004. Not only did he take a chance, Roy also didn’t hesitate to let me know that I’d be sent home at the first site of BS, and he almost did on three separate occasions in my first year. I’m so grateful for Roy Shivers. Granted, a lot has gone into that kid from MSU growing up, but the seed would’ve never been planted if it wasn’t for Roy. I got some hard truths in my first year from Shiv. I needed every one of them.

If you ever read this, Roy, thank you man. THANK YOU.  Unfortunately in todays age, men don’t get their flowers until they’ve left us. I’m pumped up that you’re getting your flowers now, and finally taking your seat amongst the greats in the Saskatchewan Roughriders Plaza of Honour. You’re a trailblazer. You’re a legend. Thanks for taking a chance in guys like me. Every one of us is better off because of you. 

At the end of the day, I guess it’s not how we start- it’s how we FINISH. 

Let’s tip our cups to the boys going 1-0 this week in the Hammer. 


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