The biggest day on the calendar is here for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
The Riders are set to battle the Bombers in the 2015 Labour Day Classic at Mosaic Stadium.
Considering the team’s 0-9 record, this will very likely be the biggest game of the year as the playoffs are basically out of the question.
If that’s not enough, this game is also the first under new interim head coach Bob Dyce.
“That’s the best part of what we do is you don’t have a lot of time to think about things. As it gets closer it gets to game time you get into your routine and what you have to do going forward,” said Dyce.
“You’re just focused into what you need to do.”
It’s been a crazy week for Dyce who is going to be a head coach for the first time in his CFL career. So much so, the new bench boss claims he hasn’t taken much, if any, time to really think about the situation he’s found himself in.
Now, that doesn’t mean Dyce hasn’t been preparing for his head coach debut.
Dyce has been busy not only watching a bunch of film on his team but other team’s across the league. He’s also picked up the phone and had conversations with former coaches he’s worked with over the years.
“I’ll spend some more time between now and the game asking questions,” he said.
“I believe knowledge is key. The more prepared you are, the more comfortable you are.”
For the players, they’ve tried to approach this week like any other.
Some things have definitely changed, while some other things remain the same.
Overall, there does appear to be a sense of relief for at least some of them.
“Knowing that we don’t have to deal with all the rumours swirling and the issues outside of these four walls,” said running back Jerome Messam.
RUN THE BALL
One thing that will have to change this week for the Riders to be successful is their approach to the run.
Over the last few weeks, it feels like offensive coordinator Jacques Chapdelaine has forgotten that he has running backs on his roster.
This week, both Messam and Anthony Allen will be on the roster and with the weather expected to be poor. The ball should be handed off, a lot.
“I hope we run the ball a lot. It is my kind of weather,” said Messam.
Last week, Messam only had three opportunities to run for six yards.
Dyce has been asked a few times this week if his team needs a greater commitment to running the football.
“It’s always about putting people in a position to succeed. I think, if those guys carry the ball, it puts the offence and our team in a position to succeed,” he said.
Reading between the lines, it sounds like Dyce wants the running game more involved. However, he hasn’t specifically told Chapdelaine how many times he should run the ball in the game.
Dyce is still letting Chapdelaine do his job and do what he thinks is right. However, that doesn’t mean that Dyce won’t be making his own suggestions along the way.
Dyce has made a few changes to the roster this week, most notably making safety a Canadian position with Matt Webster starting this week.
Added to the 46-man roster:
- Quarterback Blake Sims
- Offensive lineman Matt Vonk
- Offensive lineman JeMarcus Hardrick
- Defensive back Tyree Hollins
- Linebacker Nehmie Kankolongo
- Defensive lineman Andre Monroe
Removed from the 46-man roster:
- Quarterback Tino Sunseri (released)
- Receiver Korey Williams
- Offensive lineman Randy Richards
- Defensive lineman Brandon Tennant (six-game injured list)
- Defensive back Junior Mertile
- Defensive lineman Markus White
Kick-off is at 2 p.m. on TSN.
The Green Zone 10-Hour Game Day begins at 10 a.m. on News Talk Radio with Game Day with Wray followed by the Green Zone Pre-Game Show.
During the game, stay entertained and up-to-date with Scotty and the King on the Fan Zone.
After the game, it’s your turn to be the star by calling the Green Zone Post-Game Show at 1-877-300-7275.