Roughriders’ linebacker Jake Doughty is hopeful that his time spent on the injured list won’t go to waste.
Doughty injured his knee against the Toronto Argonauts on Aug. 8 and has been on the team’s six-game injured list since.
“It’s been a little emotional,” he said.
“But it’s kind of also nice to take a step back and become more of a cerebral player. You can’t perform physically so think about it as more of a coach.”
The first-year CFLer was forced into the starter’s role after linebacker Shea Emry suffered a concussion during the Riders week one loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Doughty wasn’t an all-star at the beginning, but there have been signs of improvement as the season went on. Before the injury, Doughty actually led the CFL in tackles for loss.
Even though the injury came at a very inopportune time for Doughty, he thinks it has allowed him to get a better grasp on the team’s defensive scheme.
“So, it’s a blessing in disguise, I guess. I know the scheme better, I know what to anticipate and now I’m ready to go,” he said.
In his absence, Jeff Knox Jr. has been playing the middle linebacker spot.
In that time, Knox has been improving as a player each week as well. Heading into this week, Knox is second in the CFL with 82 tackles, just two behind B.C. Lions linebacker Adam Bighill.
“Jeff’s kind of like a freak athlete. He’s a hell of a lot faster than I am,” said Doughty.
“He plays the game extremely well. He does show tidbits I can perform better at, and coverage wise, he does things I’m going to learn. It’s nice to take a step back and learn from what he does.”
Since Doughty last played in a game, a lot has changed. There’s a new head coach, his defensive coordinator now has complete control of the defence and the team actually has a couple of wins now.
Doughty is looking forward to playing in Greg Quick’s more fluid style of defence.
“It’s kind of let players be players. Players make plays. I’m excited for it. It gives you a little more freedom and I’m ready to roll.”
Just how much Doughty will play and what his role will be on Saturday against the Lions is unknown. Doughty took most of the reps at middle linebacker on Thursday as Knox watched from the sidelines.
Interim head coach Bob Dyce felt that Knox needed a rest but wouldn’t say anything more about the status of either linebacker other than they’ll be on the roster.