Roughriders defensive line breeds success
The Roughriders pass rush appears to be much improved this season.
The defensive line was able to get a fair bit of pressure on quarterback Henry Burris last week, which led to three sacks. Something we might not have seen last year.
"We haven't really played with guys as athletic here, as the ones we got right now," said defensive lineman Keith Shologan.
The veteran of the group thinks the biggest difference in the defensive line this year is their explosiveness, especially at defensive end.
"The two guys we got right now are very explosive, they're very fast, they make things happen," said Shologan. "There's lots of quickness and lots of power, and we're doing things to really exploit that."
The most obvious upgrade along the defensive line is Odell Willis. While he didn't register a sack last week, he was in Burris' face a number of times.
"A lot of people don't realize but the three sacks we had, he had something to do with all three of those sacks," said defensive line coach Mike Walker. "His day is going to come where he gets three, four, five sacks a game."
Even if he doesn't, Walker says Willis will still be effective because double team coverage will leave someone else open to get to the quarterback.
The defensive line is also improving by going up against all-star offensive linemen like Dominic Picard and Brendon LaBatte every day in practice.
"They're not going to let anything slide," said defensive lineman Tearrius George. "Just as bad as I want to win, they don't want to lose."
Despite a lot of positives coming out of the game, like the rest of the team, the defensive line isn't sitting back, saying they still need to get better.
"Carry each others gaps," said Walker. "Looking after each other if we get a pass rush to cover the other guy."
That should help them do a better job against the run too, after being burned for an 89 yard run from Hamilton running back Chevon Walker last week.
Chris Best's foot is really progressing, he was walking around without any noticeable pain, but Head Coach Corey Chamblin said we will see Ben Heenan in for him again on Sunday.
The team has spent a fair bit of time the last two practices working on special teams. Chamblin said it isn't an area of concern, just trying to tighten up a few things.
A reminder that Thursday's and Friday's practices will be closed to the public.