Riders receiver Nic Demski learned a lesson the hard way during Saskatchewan’s match against the Ottawa Redblacks on Saturday.
Late in the fourth quarter, Demski tried to return a missed field goal out of the end zone. However, Demski didn’t really have room to do so and he was eventually tackled at the one-yard line.
“I knew it was a mistake as soon as I got tackled,” said Demski.
What Demski should have done was simply just taken a knee in the end zone, give Ottawa the single point, and allow the offence to start at the 35-yard line.
Ultimately, it was a rookie mistake. Sometimes younger players get caught up in the moment, even if they should know better.
The mistake looms a little larger for Demski who grew up playing Canadian football, including time in the CIS. So unlike some new American kick returners, he should have had the instincts to simply concede the point.
“It’s something I’m going to lose sleep over. But, I have to flush it out and just come in with a better attitude and get back to work,” he said.
Demski learned his lesson, and we learned something about the coaching style of interim head coach Bob Dyce.
Right after the play, Demski went over to Dyce and the two had a quick conversation before Dyce patted Demski on the head and the two parted ways.
“Just told him, first off, that we got to listen to instructions,” said Dyce.
“But, there’s a lot of game left and we knew we’d need him for the rest of the game. So, we went forward from there.”
Dyce’s calm approach to dealing with a mistake like that is a contrast from what was seen on the sidelines at times under previous head coach Corey Chamblin. Sometimes that fire is needed to get a message across, sometimes it’s not. A coach also needs to know how to handle individual players as well.
Dyce told Demski not to beat himself up over the play, but to remain positive.
“The first thing I said to him is to lift his head up. I don’t want him to put his head down, because that’s almost like admitting defeat,” he said.
That confidence is an important part of Demski’s game as he’s a very emotional player on the field. So, it was important for Dyce to keep Demski as confident as possible in that moment.
“With Nic, his confidence has risen. We just need to get back. It’s just like a loss, you can only only dwell on it for so long. You just got to go forward and I know he won’t make the same mistake again,” said Dyce.
The Riders will return to practice on Wednesday morning before hosting the Montreal Alouettes on Sunday afternoon.