Roughriders home finale will be a chilly affair
The CFL really is Canada's league, don't like the weather, wait five games.
Training camp and the early part of the season offers up a mix bag of sun, wind, rain. The dog days of summer certainly play a role in the season, so does the calm of fall...but when the games get the biggest, old man winter decides to make an appearance .
The weather this week in Regina hasn't exactly been the nicest to be outdoors, but it's probably been more of a middle-aged man winter with an average wind chill of about minus 10, and no real snow to speak of, but still quite the change from what we had been used to. Saturday the forecast is calling for much of the same for the Riders home finale against the Argos.
"They're cold, but they understand we'll play in the cold," said head coach Corey Chamblin when asked about the mood of his team after walk through on Friday. "They're excited, the guys had a good week of practice."
Cold weather football is a different beast. Some people love it, because it signals the beginning of the big games. Especially in the CFL where winter doesn't make much of an appearance in the regular season, like it can south of the border because of a later start.
"Start seeing your breath out there,always means you're getting close to important," said Linebacker Mike McCullough. "Each game is more important."
While Saturday's match up isn't crucial for the Riders, at least when it comes to a win or a loss, as they're going on the road for the first round of the playoffs either way. The game could mean everything for the Argonauts. Should Hamilton beat Winnipeg earlier on Saturday, they'll need a win to clinch second in the east. A loss could send them into a winner take all game the following week.
It might not be a good week for Toronto to be coming to town as head coach Scott Milanovich confessed they had to practice indoors most of the week, and even if they were outdoors, it was closer to 20 degrees all week in the big smoke.
"I thought it was nice when we got off the plan, it's a little windier than we're used to, but the guys will adjust," said Milanovich.
While most of the game plan remains unchanged because of the cold, unless there's wind, which happens from time to time in Regina. The players who probably have to deal with the cold the most are the kickers.
"Kicking the ball, when it's like minus nine or whatever, yeah it's like kicking a brick," said kicker Sandro DeAngelis, but he adds that's what you sign up for when you play in the CFL.
Another challenge DeAngelis, and the Argos kickers will have to deal with on Saturday afternoon is keeping warm, Unlike the offensive and defensive players there isn't any guarantees they'll get on the field much, and when they do, they're not out there for long.
"I have to do what I have to do," said DeAngelis. "Whether it's jog, stretch, kick balls into the net, or hang out by the heater."
Yes, the heater made it's way to the sidelines this week, making it's first appearance on Thursday afternoon, and there will be one on each bench come Saturday afternoon.
"They wanted me to do it, the GM and all those guys, they're soft," joked Chamblin. "If it was up to me, there would be no heaters, no hot packs, no anything."
In all seriousness though, Chamblin knows it's for the benefit of his team to have the heater on the bench.
"I do want our team to be able to function ," said Chamblin. "Especially the quarterback."
Not a whole lot of change for the 46 man roster this week. Coming on are linebacker Abe Kromah and defensive lineman David Veikune, coming off are offensive lineman Johan Asiata and released defensive lineman Rob Rose.
Kromah came on the 46 man roster to come off the nine game injured list. He won't be in the line up come Saturday afternoon. Though Chamblin did say they might take a look at him next week.
The other scratches will likely be defensive lineman Zach Evans, receiver Brooks Foster and one of Veikune or Jay Alford, who wasn't seen at walk through on Friday. Mick Williams also returns to the starting line up along the defensive line.