As the crimson hues of Tuesday morning dawned, the Saskatchewan Roughriders made their determined return to the field for practice, motivated by the sharp sting of their remarkable 51-6 defeat against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on the previous Saturday.
Head Coach, Craig Dickenson, voiced his philosophy on processing the loss. “There wasn’t much collective rehashing of the game. Instead, we encouraged individual reflection from our players. Admitting, analyzing and learning from the errors is key. As distasteful as it seems, you have to rinse that defeat off,” stated Dickenson. He rightly mentioned, “A loss is a loss, no matter how narrow or how wide the gap. It holds the same weight.”
The Roughrider’s Quarterback, Jake Dolegala, explained the team’s resolve and the ambiance in the locker room, saying, “We entered the field today with heightened attention and single-mindedness. I am satisfied with how we made our plays. Our journey is purely a series of steps, one day, one play at a time. We aren’t novices to defeat. It’s nothing new for us.”
The stark revelation of their shortcomings in their last game, particularly not claiming even a single touchdown, has alerted the Riders to step up their game in the upcoming weekend faceoff.
Receiver Kian Schaffer-Baker, boldly stated the teams’ dynamic plan by saying, “Bouncing back from this defeat isn’t an option, it’s the only way! We categorically reject the level of our last performance and look to continually improve. We’re committed to delivering an exciting show for our home crowd when we play this week.”
“Our gears have already shifted,” Dolegala added, “Edmonton is now our exclusive focus.”
Despite Saskatchewan winning twice against Edmonton this season, the latter would present a new face in their forthcoming third and final clash of the regular season. Tre Ford has undertaken the reins of Edmonton, which started with an underwhelming 0-9, but has shown promising resilience by managing a solid 3-1 in their last four outings.
Trailing but surely ascending in the Western standings, the Elks provide the opposition on Friday, a meaningful match for the Riders who currently stand 6-6 for the year.
Teammate Evan Johnson, emphasized the importance of this match. He stated, “A victory against them, particularly as a divisional adversary, brings us a stride closer to BC, concurrently creating some daylight between us, Calgary and Edmonton. Furthermore, it plays a crucial role in the overall standings.”
Coach Dickenson corroborated this sentiment, “We find ourselves in an unfamiliar territory with Edmonton. We’re dealing with stacks of game films since our last encounter. Yes, the same core group endures, but they have upped their game. We’re well-aware of the significance of this game in terms of standings. A victory against them is significant, and our full concentration is funneled towards this objective.”
However, the Roughrider’s practice on Tuesday was lacking two conspicuous figures; Deontai Williams, defensive back sidelined due to a hamstring injury, and Anthony Lanier, who was absent due to other non-injury-related reasons.