Saturday, 29 August 2015

Wk 10 RedBlacks Primer

First off, I’m sorry for the lack of content this week.  I was hit with the flu, and for those of you who know me; I very rarely get sick.  The unfortunate side effect of never being sick, is that when I do get hit with something, it collapses me like a young Mike Tyson right hook…I’m still just coming out of it.


Speaking of coming out of it…


It’s time baby!  Saskatchewan get its first win this weekend in the Nation’s Capital.  Count on it!!!


Now that’s a hefty guarantee.  Thankfully I don’t have to do any of the heavy lifting, and if the team does manage to falter, a lot of folks will get caught up in the jargon that 0-9 will bring and forget I even said it.


The one thing I’m not going to do is sit here and act like I haven’t been in a locker room before and start piling on like so much of the media seems to be doing lately. 

Someone actually came up to me in Safeway this week and grilled me in front of the Organic Zucchini!  #WentWithTheTomatoes


“Luc...You don’t truly think the Riders are going to win this week do you?  How can you sit there and be so positive about this team with the state that they’re in?”


My answer:  “My bad man, Should be doing what other experts are doing, and getting on the radio, or in this blog, and mocking the Head Coach or MAKING FUN of how bad the defense has been?” #LikeIneverMissedAtackle


“No…” The man retorted as he fondled an onion, “But you could at least tell us what you really think.  There’s no way that we’re beating the Red Black on Sunday!”


My response came swiftly, “Well not with that attitude!”

Then I promised him that there was plenty of good reason as to why I think the Riders walk out of Ottawa with a W, and I shamelessly told him to “Check out the Primer” for my reasoning.

I also told him that I appreciated him coming over to chat, which is the truth.


He obliged, and grabbed an onion, unfortunately the one he originally caressed didn’t make the cut.

After finding the ripest tomatoes in the bunch, I grabbed three, and went about my business in the meat department…


So I guess now I have no real choice but to elaborate on my original picks in our Tuesday column.  It will make this Primer quick, however I ask for a reprieve due to physical condition!


Here’s my reasoning as to why Saskatchewan Roughriders will beat the Ottawa RedBlacks, in no particular order, and also some things that they’ll need to do in order to make our prophecies become true.


1) The RedBlacks secondary is good, but still struggles to communicate.  We mentioned this on Tuesday, but it’s an important point.  Saskatchewan doesn’t have tall rangy WRs in bundles like Hamilton, or Toronto, but what they do have is route combos that require a ton of communication in the back-end in order to hold up.  The RedBlacks have no problem with 1 on 1 battles, they can play with the best of them; however, they’ve shown the tendency to break down when it comes to opponents running in and out of different zone spots.  Last week against TO, Ottawa defenders repeatedly left receivers open by switching off coverage responsibilities at the wrong times, or following the wrong man for too long.  Saskatchewan is going to throw a number of route combos at the RedBlacks that will push their football IQ, and hopefully cause them to blow an assignment or two.  The Argos scored at least twice on errant coverages, hopefully the RedBlacks are willing to give a little again this week.


2) We can win the trench warfare.  The RedBlack Dline is deep, physical and talented.  It’s going to take a monster effort by our hoggies to protect the QB and run the rock, but they’ll get it done if they’re on their game.  It’s the Dline, specifically the interior that needs to step up this week.  Ottawa doesn’t have the stats to be able to say they can run the ball, however when they do, they try and get it done between the tackles.  Saskatchewan has been shaky there over the last couple of weeks, especially when trying to close out games.  The combo of our youngsters Tennant, and Connop mixed with the vet savvy of T.George MUST hold the line of scrimmage, and more importantly need to ensure that the Guards or Centres of the RedBlack Olinedon’t get to the 2nd level of the Roughrider D where things are moving fast for Knox and Brack.  I know it sounds ridiculous saying that the Riders need to force Ottawa to throw, but it works both ways.  The RedBlacks, especially their QB, are a team of highs and lows, and their Olinecracks under the right amount of pressure.  The same guards that we just mentioned having to stop in the run, are the same guards that are weak against agile defenders.  If the Roughriders continue to employ some stunts and games with their LB’s they’ll get to Burress who has a penchant for throwing an errant pass or two.


3) The Riders understand the situation they’re in.  This is as close to a must-win game as one could be in at this juncture of the year.  Everyone in Ridernation is going to be semi-cheering for the Stumps tonight in hopes that Winnipeg takes another L, but Saskatchewan has to do its part.  If this team has any type of post-season aspirations, or even just wants to create some momentum for themselves going in to its Labour Day festivities with the Bombers, they need a win on Sunday.  The RedBlacks will sit there and tell anyone that’s listening that they’re desperate for a win as well yada–yada-yada but it’s not even close.  The Saskatchewan Roughriders NEED TO WIN THIS GAME, more than any other game this year.  They’re starving wolves right now, the RedBlacks are not.


Three?  That’s it?  Three reasons???


Yes.  These teams are pretty evenly matched otherwise.  I’d give the advantage to our Special Teams in the crunch.  Sometimes that’s all one gets.  Sometimes that’s all one needs.


Cups up to the boys getting their first “DUB” in Ottawa!!!




Thursday, 27 August 2015

Offsides...The PodCast Episode 9

I'll tell you what; if you guys liked the brief piece that we did here about Eddie Davis and Gene Makowsky's HOF weekend, you're going to love how Coach looks back on the brilliant career of Eddie Davis, in particular.  It was a great way to kick off our 9th episode of Offsides, and gives you all another glimpse into what it was like being around E.D!
Although he didn't spend as much time with Mean Gene, Etch speaks so highly of #60 and draws a great point to how some teams prepare for a CFL opponent.

Moving forward we touch on the inability of Etch's Early Season Coaching Fav's and their inability to get their teams to perform (Schonert & Tedford).  Humbly Etch ends up eluding to the fact that they've "underperformed" but also makes a few great points while doing so.

We spend a small time talking about the situation in Montreal and Jim Popp taking over for Tom Higgins who recently got pitched, but Etch brings up a valid reason as to why Jim Popp probably thinks he could be successful as an HC...let me know what you guys think.

As per usual, we delve into the upcoming halfway marker of the CFL season.  Some points to look forward too, are Hufnagels 'inner-circle' thoughts about how he views the Stamps as opposed to how the rest of us see Calgary, and Winnipeg's locker room thoughts on their Head Coach Mike O'shea.

We end the Podcast the same way we always do, and for many of you this will be the highlight of the show.  You've all heard Etch be quite positive about the Saskatchewan Roughriders and their plight thus far, and I think one of the reasons is that Etch has always taken the "underdog" mentality.  In todays sesh, Coach is abruptly definitive about the chances against Ottawa and it will give the Ridernation listeners quite a bit of confidence once they analyze his talking points.

As we continue to work to improve, suggestions are always welcome, as the most important aspect of this Offsides Podcast is YOU...the listener.

Thanks for all the love, the show is embedded below, and you can always download it for later by clicking on the title.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Picking Wk 10 in the CFL

Presented By
Another 3-1 week here at and things are looking up!  It finally seems like we have a grip on some of these teams and their make-up.  Week 10 is a tough one as it comes right before the annual Labour Day games that are a special part of the Canadian Football League Season.  Looking at the schedule, there are actually a couple of games that seem like an obvious choice BUT only if the teams can focus in on the task at hand and avoid looking into the future, which is harder to do than some of you may think.

I’m excited because I get to travel to Ottawa and experience TD place for the first time since I played there as a youngster.  Hopefully I won’t be a bad omen to the Green and White and they’ll finally get off the snide.  It’s amazing to watch as the league actually starts zeroing in on Saskatchewan and the small Soap Opera that the Riders have become.  Hopefully this is the week that the DRAMA ends.

Below are the CJ Evans Home Designs CFL picks for Week 10.  Hope this helps folks!

Talk soon!!!

Montreal @ Hamilton

The Ti-Cats are undefeated at Tim Hortons field, and playing outside of their minds at this moment.  It’s hard to see anyone in the league walking in there and stealing a win, let alone a team that has been in the CFL headlines all year for the WRONG reasons.  Nobody outside the Montreal locker room has a fair handle on what’s exactly going on in La Belle Province, but hopefully with Jim Popp getting what he wanted all along and coaching the team, they’ll be able to focus squarely on FOOTBALL from here on out.
Division rivalry games are always exciting, and it’s going to be important for Hamilton to withstand the first few minutes of this game, as one can expect Montreal to put all their cards on the table throw their best offensive and defensive punches.  
If Hamilton is able to weather the storm during the 1st Quarter, it should be relatively smooth sailing, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the TiCats roll big here.
Pick: Hamilton
Toronto @ Edmonton
After giving up about 28 pts in turnovers, and getting embarrassed at home, this game is all about how Edmonton responds to adversity.  If the Eskimos want to be taken seriously as a Grey Cup contender they’ll have to be able to bounce back and beat an Argo team that has already gotten the best of them once this year.  What was most disappointing about the loss to Hamilton at home was the way in which the Eskimo Defensive line seemed to get bullied at times by the TiCat Offensive Front.  The Dline performance was indicative of the way the whole game went really, and with Chris Jones’ reputation as a fiery competitor, one can bet that the entire team will be challenged throughout the week and come ready to show the league that the aberration against Hamilton was just a brief slip-up.  Toronto is in tough.  Coming off a short week, they’ll have to avoid looking ahead to the Labour Day series against the TiCatsand find a way to weather the storm against a team that is out to prove that the CFL needs to take them seriously.
Pick: Edmonton
Calgary @ Winnipeg
While everyone here in Ridernation is debating a 65 yard Field Goal, or playing Arm Chair-Coach with a few scenario’s that transpired on Sunday, the reality of the Calgary/Saskatchewan game is that the Stampeders were the better team.  Like all Championship calibre organizations the Stamps displayed the resolve to capitalize on an adversary’s misfortunes, and the ability to control the clock in order to close out an opponent.  Yes folks, unfortunately it seems as though the Stamp Machineand all its play makers is clicking at 100% efficiency right now, and it’s tough to see many bright spots for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers as they come off their Bye-Week.  The Bombers may get their foot in the door if Calgary comes into Investors Group Field looking ahead to their Battle of Alberta match-up, but even that seems like a stretch knowing how well the Stampeders are coached.  
Pick: Calgary
Saskatchewan @ Ottawa
This game is tricky.  There will be a ton of people who pick Saskatchewan right off the bat because of the way in which the team played versus the defending Grey Cup Champions at home, and it just seems IMPOSSIBLE that the Green and White could drop their first 9…
Be cautioned though; the Ottawa RedBlacks are a good team when they’re on top of their game, and NOBODY wants to be the first team to lose to the Roughriders at this juncture of the  season.
Good Hank just came off a game where he went for over 425 yards and NO picks.  The RedBlack D sits 2nd overall in the league in total yards allowed and has proven all year that they can create turnovers and pressure the QB with their UNDERRATED Defensive Line.  This will be as tough a game as any to get that first win.
What does give the Roughriders a good shot at the ‘W’ in the Nation’s Capital, is the fact that Ottawa still struggles with inconsistency.  Despite the vast improvement from 2014 in their Secondary, the backend still goes through the occasional lapses in communication, and it hurt them in their Week 9 loss to Toronto.  The Ottawa Offense isn’t any different, and has struggled with inconsistency in the first half of the year, starting at the top with Shoe-In Hall of Famer Henry Burris.  One of the reasons for their lack of reliability is the absence of a viable run game; and that might be what puts the Saskatchewan Roughriders over the top. 
If the RedBlacks can’t get it going through the air early, there doesn’t seem to be anywhere that they can turn.
Moral victories, and playing well for 58 minutes is not something the Riders organization is going to start hanging their hat on.  This team needs to start winning IMMEDIATELY.  Thankfully they have stuck together throughout this ordeal, and the Character in the Locker Room continues to keep their spirits above water.  
On paper, both teams match-up well.  Everyone in the CFL knows what type of team they have in Saskatchewan; the kicker is that nobody is quite sure what they’ve got in Ottawa just yet...Take Sask here in a close one.
Pick: Saskatchewan

Monday, 24 August 2015

Saluting Eddie and Geno

The opportunity to play alongside a future Hall of Famer is rare in this business.  To be fortunate enough to say that one has strapped up with TWO guaranteed Hall of Fame players, is unreal.  Seeing former teammates Eddie Davis and Gene Makowsky being enshrined forever amongst the CFLs greats this past weekend was quite the occasion, but it really hit home for myself and many of my other former teammates because E.D and Geno had an unbelievable effect on our careers as professional athletes.


Is was pretty cool to witness all of the support and love that both players were given during the various events of Hall of Fame Weekend here in Saskatchewan.  Knowing how tough it is to remain consistent in professional football, its mind boggling that Davis and Makowsky managed to put together ELITE performances week in and week out for over a decade at their respective positions


What CFL fans were privileged to see on a nightly basis from Saskatchewans latest members of the HOF pales in comparison to the education that teammate’s received on a daily basis throughout the years.  Being able to watch Geno and E.D go through the CFL practise schedules, and witness their game day routines was invaluable to everyone around them.  It was like we all had a “Football for Dummies” manual in our back pockets.


One of the MANY attributes that jumps out when discussing the incredible careers of Davis and Makowsky was how incredibly detail oriented both Hall of Famers were.  

As a young CFL hopeful searching for ways to improve in 2004, I approached E.D when he was finishing up some film study he had been doing after a practise.  My intentions were to ask him how to watch film in order to give myself an edge on my competition, whether it be an opponent or another player in my own position group.  I figured that his response was going to be brief and to the point, maybe outlining a thing or two to look for; seeing as I was a young nobody and he had better things to do…like go be Eddie Davis!


What followed was a lesson that I would take with me for my entire CFL career…


Eddie sat with me for the next hour and showed me how to WATCH film instead of just looking at it.  He taught me that I needed to put myself in the situation, along with a relevant defensive call vs. just watching for what type of steps an opposing Olineman is going to take.  E.D showed me how to look at opponents situational tendencies vs. how each guy pass blocks or what he’s good at.

It was all in the details for Davis.  


I can’t imagine how much wisdom he imparted on the guys who actually played his position.  I know how much E.D meant to the careers of guys like Lance Frazier and Tad Kornegay.

Davis wasn’t just our leader on the field.  The foundation for his success was laid far before the lights of a CFL stadium came on.  Eddie Davis understood how to unlock the details of the game through the film that we were all privy too.  He did it better than anyone, and thankfully he shared his knowledge with players and coaches alike.


Geno was different.  I never witnessed the way he studied film, however I did get to see how hard he worked during the off season, and how he approached taking care of his body in the weight room during that year.  Being able to play the well for that long at the Offensive Tackle and Guard spots requires the ability to take the worst types of physical abuse possible, and Geno did it year in and year out without being slowed by MAJOR injuries for any extended periods of time.  His commitment to conditioning isn't something that many people talk about when they speak of Makowsky, however he should be recognized by how hard he worked at staying CFL game-ready.


Gene will go down as one of the most technically sound Offensive Tackles in the game, and myself and a couple of fellow defensive linemen were always fascinated by Geno’s play; especially how it related to his pre-game routine.  


After our own pre-game warmup we used to sit and take note as Makowsky would stand fully dressed before a game, and go over a series of small steps over and over again, all the way up to the signal for the opening whistle.  This 3 or 4 step combination that #60 did EVERY pre-game was the cornerstone of his success and technical reputation, and it made many of us realize how important the technical aspect of the pro game was.  Geno taught us that a player can’t just go out there and physically bully an opponent at the CFL level if we wanted to win.  One had to stress fundamental technique.


It was amazing to go back to the film and watch as Geno transferred his simple series of detailed steps before the game into CLINIC FILM on how to block some of the best pass rushers in the Canadian Football League.  No matter who the player was, or what the situation, Gene always relied on his footwork technique to get the job done.  That type of belief in a system is uncommon, and can only be found in the greats.


One could pen an entire novel on what it was like being in the locker room with Eddie Davis and Gene Makowsky.  You’ll hear former teammates reminisce over Eddie’s vocal leadership and how he carried our defense.  People will always chuckle over Geno’s propensity to keep his word count to a minimum.

There are so many reasons why E.D and Geno were able to take their place amongst the CFLs greatest athletes, but if one wants to take a profound look into the Hall of Fame Careers of #60 and #29, look no further than the players that have gotten to share the locker room with them.  Both players made everyone around them better.  Both players taught so many of us how to be true professionals.


Throughout the grass-roots football programs and at the collegiate levels, there are kids emulating the play of guys like Eddie Davis and Gene Makowsky.  There’s someone that is working tirelessly to be the next #60 or the next #29.  It’s important for those young players to know how much Geno and E.D worked on the FUNDAMENTAL DETAILS of their game.


The Hall of Fame rewards the greatest that the CFL has ever seen.  The best part of Gene Makowsky and Eddie Davis’ careers seem to be the rewards that have been bestowed upon their teammates more than anyone else.  It was an honour and a privilege to suit up with both men, and seeing them take their rightful place in history was incredible.


Thank you Geno.  Thank you E.D.


From all of your old teammates…Nobody deserves it more! 



Friday, 21 August 2015


It's all about Ball Security today for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.  Everyone's making such a big deal about the a**-kicking the Stampeders put on Ottawa, however the RedBlacks didn't give themselves a legitimate chance with all the turnovers that they gave up.
Week 7 saw Saskatchewan kill itself with penalties against the Argos in a game which they should have won.  One would expect that the penalties decrease drastically this week as it's been an emphasis during this week of practise, but the riders CANNOT give Calgary second chance opportunities and field position through turnovers.  When the Green and White are on Offense, they'll have to protect the football. From QB decision making all the way down to covering up the ball when a player has possession, one cannot give the ball to the potent Calgary attack.  Special Teams (which the Stamps dominated last week) is going to have to secure the ball as well. The field position game is also crucial, especially in this weather today, and the ball may be slippery and moving awkwardly due to potential wind.  
Calgary may come into Mosaic today as a favourite but we've talked all week about this being one of those games where records and stats don't mean anything.  If the Riders hang around long enough and it's close going into the 4th, don't be surprised if the Green and White end up grabbing their first W and manufacturing some momentum for themselves going into Ottawa...
It all starts by taking care of the little things today...BALL SECURITY. GOTTA HAVE IT!!!!

Week 9 Stamps Primer

Spectacular season-long send offs, like the victory lap that Derek Jeter received in his last year, are remarkably uncommonin professional sports. 


More often than not an athlete is unceremoniously discarded into the real world to be left to fend for himself.  It’s not necessarily a bad thing or a good thing, it’s just the reality of the business.  The game owes nothing to anyone, no matter what your accomplishments.


Take John Bowman for instance.  A 10 year vet who’s arguably one the most consistent Defensive Ends that the CFL has seen over the span of his career.  Bow’s won Grey Cups rings, he’s always been near the top of the league in sacks, and Montreal has depended on his leadership and accountability throughout his tenure in order to maintain the level of prestige that their franchise has procured.  #7 has been the face of the AlouettesDefense for years.


In any other work environment, a guy that contributed to his company at the level that Bowman has would be celebrated and given all perks of a highly decorated employee, like his own parking space, first dibs on the good vacation days, and extended lunch breaks…


One would not expect the company to treat their consummate professional like Milton from ‘Office Space’. #ButItsMyStapler


Such is life in the CFL and all other professional leagues.  With the team stalling John Bowman abruptly found himself on the outside looking in without a warning.  For the first time in his career #7 is being left off the 42-man roster, and barring any injuries it doesn’t seem like he’s in the plans moving forward.  

It seems as though Bow’s time in La Belle Province is about to hit its expiry date. 

There will be no grand send-offs, and no victory lap for the corner stone of the Alouette D; this business can turn its back on a player quickly…#JustDoesntSeemRight


It is truly a rare occasion whenever a professional athlete is able to designate which play or game will be their last in their chosen sport.  Injury, and the nature of the “business that they’ve chose” are usually the determinants of an athlete’s career.  If one is able to walk away from the game on their own without being ushered out, then they’ve achieved an undeniable milestone.


I’m sure you’ve all heard the phrases, “Play every game like it’s your last” or “Take advantage of every opportunity that you get”.  These phrases are commonplace amongst coach and player rhetoric, and for good reason.  One never knows when their time is up…


This brings us to Saturdays clash with the Calgary Stampeders.


Week 9 in Riderville is HUGE.  Its Calgary…EVERYONE. HATES. CALGARY. 


Nobody cares that the Stampeders seemed to find their groove against Ottawa; we knew the RedBlacks weren’t for real anyway!!!  

Who cares that Bo Levi Mitchell looked unflappable, and may have found his game; how come he still gets TWO last names?!? 

How the hell does Jon Hufnagel keep finding these top notch players year after year???  Does he have a deal with Mel Kiper?!?

How dare they ONE-UP our new stadium with their 950 Kabillion dollar arena complex!!!  The Flames haven’t been a threat since the Lanny McDonald era!!!


Team records, and divisional positioning don’t matter here.  This bitter rivalry between the Stamps and Riders brings out the best in the players that get to suit up; and pulls on the emotions of each of the teams fan bases.  It’s become something special to be a part of


I can’t describe the feeling that one gets playing in games like this.  

An old coach of mine used to say “It’s what you live for!” 


And it really is…Games like this are what a professional athlete lives for.  It makes the journey all the more special, HOWEVER, it’s coated with a bittersweet reality…


One never knows how many opportunities that they’ll get to play in games like this one, especially when it’s at home.  Athletes, and their non-guaranteed contracts walk the tightrope of uncertainty with every rep they take.

The game doesn’t discriminate and one is always an injury, or a bad snap away from having the carpet ripped from underneath them.  

The reality of the deal is that there a few players in that locker room that will be suiting up for this Rivalry Game for the last time in their career.  Nobody knows who those players are right now, but it’s a guaranteed truth.  


That’s why one gets the “Play every game like it’s your last!” speeches.  It very well may be ones last game.  


That’s why one constantly speaks about “opportunity” and making the most of one’s chances; in pro sports breaks are taken away far quicker than they are given.


Saturday’s game in Regina features a number of potential storylines.  One of those stories will be talk of the momentum that this games may supply the Roughriders should they come out victorious.  Without looking too far ahead, a victory here would surely position the team well moving into Ottawa and the traditional back-to-back against Winter-peg.


Whatever the case may be, the real facts lie hidden amongst all the hype.  This is the final time that a few of your favourite players may be strapping up for this storied conflict in Mosaic Stadium. Father Time is undefeated and eventually he focuses his gaze on everyone.


Every rep, on Offense, Defense, and Special Teams is a bar of gold this Saturday.  The chance to get everything moving in a positive direction is right in front of the Green and White just waiting to get snapped up.  Players have to revel in these games.  The guys need to have fun, and enjoy every step of the process.  One needs to appreciate the sights and smells of the game as they go from the parking lot to the stadium.  One should feel the anticipation of the day and soak it in during the warm-ups.


The music will feel a little louder running out of the Green helmet at 5pm.  The bang and crackle of the fireworks will hit a little harder.  Its Calgary week, everything will move a little faster…


One should allow themselves some time to absorb it all at some point during the game.  Don’t just pass it off as another game. This game is one of the many special perks that one gets to participate in if they make the right sacrifices and put in the right amount of work.


Week 9 is another “Opportunity” to compete, and it comes against an opponent that many have grown to hate.  The match-up will be fierce, violent, and fun.  Tip your cups to the Saskatchewan Roughriders seizing this chance…For some players, it will be the last time that they’ll be privileged enough to play in this game.  Unfortunately, that very decision is rarely left up to the player himself.









Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Offsides...The Podcast. Episode 8

Episode 8 of our Offsides Podcast series via ProPerspective was done as Coach Etcheverry was just about to begin a coaches clinic with the high school coaches of a program out in Spokane Washington.  The game of football creates all sort of connections and roadways leading back to certain people that one meets over the span of their career, and that's no different for Coach Etch as he opens up explaining the connection that Spokane has to the Canadian Football League.
Moving forward todays show covered a couple of topics... 
While talking about the previous week of CFL action we touched on BCs loss of Solomon Elimimian and it got us into an interesting discussion on why a football scheme CANNOT be solely on a units best player.  The case study for this segment focused on the 2009/2010 Saskatchewan Roughriders including one of my All-Time favourite teammates and close personal friend Scott Anthony Schultz.
That hits early and is a cool comparison to BCs new problem in the Lions Den.
Following that, I challenged Etch and brought up the fact that some listeners scoffed at his "Sustained Success" musings last episode, because he himself, hadn't had any sustained success in the CFL.  A couple people brought up his ring-less stints in 2000, 2009, 2010, and 2014.
It's only right to let Etch answer those critics, and I'm sure you'll enjoy his response, and maybe analyse that as well.
As per usual we took a look into the coming week of CFL action where Coach gives us some handy points on why Edmonton is successful right now, and the way Trevor Harris has come in and really created some balance in that Rickey Ray-less Argonaut Offense. 
To close, we talked about this coming game on Saturday between the Calgary Stampeders and the Saskatchewan Roughriders...I for one am picking Saskatchewan against all odds, but Etch quickly threw a lot of shade on my pick and now I sit here not so confident in my prediction!  Check it out...
All in all, we had fun doing the show, and I hope you enjoy it.  Thanks so much for your overwhelming response, once again, and we can't wait to sit and visit with you all next week...
The show is embedded below, and if you want to download it to listen to later, just click on the title and you'll be brought to the hosting site, where you can pick it off...
Talk soon world!!!

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Picking Wk 9 in the CFL

Presented By
DAAAM YOU OTTAWAAAAA!!!  We would have gone for our 1st perfect week of the year if it hadn't been for the RedBlacks putting up a stinker on the only time that ProPerspective have sat down and actually rooted for them.  Oh well, that's what you get when you believe the hype I guess...
Week 9 calls for FIREWORKS...BC and Montreal should be a great game that may come down to the wire, Edmonton and Hamilton is an unreal match-up, and Ridernation gets to boo the Stamps when they come to town on Saturday.  One things for certain: This year is flying by us.  It's hard to believe we're at the mid-way point.  Still lots of good football to be played, even in Saskatchewan despite what the naysayers may think.
As usual, here's some things to ponder as you go into your CFL conversations this week.
See you at Mosaic Stadium folks!  And for those of you in other CFL cities, big shout-outs to you for stopping by ProPerspective and showing some love.  Let us know what you think of the picks...
Talk soon folks!!!
Montreal @ BC
This game is a great way to start off the CFL week.  Both teams are evenly matched, and both teams need a win in order to keep pace with their respective division rivals.  The last couple of contests have been a nightmare for the BC Lions as they’ve had to go back-to-back against the CFL’s top two defenses.  Things don’t get any easier with the Alouettes.  The Angry Birds have shown the ability to lock teams down in order to stay in games, and they get to play the Lions coming off of a relatively short turnaround.
The Lions do get one break during Week 9, they’re back home,which is huge in this case because the Alouettes aren’t a great road team and they’re being forced to adjust their clocks 3 hours in order to make the trek all the way across the country.
It cannot be understated how much of a loss Solomon Elimimianis to the Leos.  I’d compare it to the loss of Doubles here in Ridernation.  BC will get on TV and say all the right things, however that was a killer in the locker room and obviously defensively.  
In order to mitigate the loss of their leader, the Lions are going to have to start fast, and avoid turnovers.  If Montreal is allowed to hang around into the 4th quarter, and is given one or two extra opportunities to move the field, things may turn sour for the Leos in front of their handful of supporters.
I like the Allouettes chances here.
Pick:  Montreal
Hamilton @ Edmonton
Two teams with a 5-2 record, two of the CFLs best defenses, and a Friday night game…It doesn’t get much better than that.  As this is being typed out, the Las Vegas odds makers have the Hamilton TiCats as a 2.5 pt favourite, and I don’t have a problem with that at all.  
One has to give the edge to Hamilton if their being honest with themselves.  Yes, the defensive battle is a good one, however, Hamilton stopping Matt Nichols or James Frankilin is more favourable than Edmonton stopping Zach Collaros and his group of talented WRs (even without #83).
Hamilton also has the Special Teams edge with their ability to roll out the league’s best scoring threat in Brandon Banks.
The bottom line to this game is that the Tabbies have proven that they’re a team capable of scoring in any phase of the game.  Home field isn’t a huge advantage either.  The TiCats cut their teeth early in the year by being road warriors and won’t be concerned about having to play outside of the “Coffee Grounds” at Tim Hortons field. 
Pick:  Hamilton
Ottawa @ Toronto 
Just when I go out on a limb and rent a seat on the Ottawa bandwagon for a change, they go ahead and crap the bed…It’s week 9 and this team is still a mystery to me.  It’s like the RedBlacks have adopted the whole “Good Hank, Bad Hank” mantra as their entire team slogan; Good RedBlacks/Bad RedBlacks
As for the Argos, they’ve fought their way through adversity over the past couple of weeks (really throughout the year) and have continued to find ways to win, which is a huge testament to their character, and the guys in their locker room.  Those trials and tribulations position teams for successful runs. Veteran Defensive End summed it up nicely in an interview this week, 
“This team, it’s not about 1 guy…there’s a special vibe in here…”
In my mind, this match-up is a case of a team that knows its identity vs a team that is still trying to confirm one. 
Pick:  Toronto
Calgary @ Saskatchewan
I originally thought this was a home game for the Stamps, and still gave the Riders a good shot at winning it.  Now that I’ve realized that it’s a home game at Mosaic Stadium, I’m even more confident that the Riders can come off the snide and steal one as the underdogs.  Throw the records out of the window here folks.  Whenever Saskatchewan plays the Stampeders, one can forget conventional football and expect a physical slug-fest.  As a former pro, privileged enough to have played in games like this one, I can tell you that players from both sides look for these games as soon as the CFL schedule is released and take a mental note of when and where it will all go down. 
After having the bye week to regroup and make changes, the Green and White are probably chomping at the bit to start Stampeder week and will be flying around at the beginning of the week as if it’s the first game of the year.  
Not only is it Calgary to kick off Week 9 in Saskatchewan, but players are probably just sick and tired of losing games; especially the way in which the losses have come.  Quite frankly, the guys have had enough; and now they’ve had a whole week to sit there and get their minds right. Eventually the feelings of anxiety and frustration, over performance, turn into a feelings of excitement knowing that the first WIN is right around the corner if they do things the right way. 
Practise leading up to Saturdays clash should be intense and maybe even a bit chirpy, however that is to be expected considering the gravity of the week.  This could very well be a game that sparks a fire that the Riders need to make things interesting in the West.
Like I said, throw the records out the window.  Calgary is in OUR HOUSE and they need to be dealt with.  Everyone has a game plan until they get hit in the mouth.  Hopefully the Riders are left standing when the dust clears.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Mailbag Mondays

New week, new money, as my investment buddies would say...Football is back in Sask in a big way.  The RMF just kicked off (Go SunDevils), the Regina Thunder and the Saskatoon Hilltops opened their campaigns, and the Rams and Huskies just got their camps off and running this weekend.
As for the Green and White, they'll hit the practise field this Tuesday in preparation for a big W in Calgary.  Thanks for all your questions and comments via Twitter (@lucmull95) and at ProPerspective, it's a real joy to try and answer your inquiries.  Keep Em Comin!!!
For now, here's what we set aside to answer in this weeks bag. HAVE A GREAT WEEK FOLKS!!!

Via ProPerspective

Very often other teams have their best rushing games against us, and that goes back through 2014. Why is that?

  • I've never read a stat like that, nor do I know if that's true or not, but there may be some logic behind the statement.  If we take a look at this season there seems to be plenty of incentive to run against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.  The Green and White have rookies in 3 absolutely crucial positions on defense when it comes to stopping the run.  With Brandon Tennant at Nose Tackle, and the combo of Jeff Knox Jr. and Jake Doughty at their two LB spots the Riders have had a lot of learning to do in the early stages of 2015.  I know that everyone is tired of analysts talking about the Rider youth, however it's not about this team having young players, it's more about where those young players have to play.  It all works together...Without the presence of a gap plugging Nose Tackle like Keith Shologan, offensive linemen have the potential to re-establish the line of scrimmage, and block to get up to the second level in order to get helmets on the would be tacklers, the LBs.  Now with a veteran presence on the 2nd level things don't move as fast, however with Knox and Doughty (who have both done well and exhibit the ability to play at the CFL level) the speed by which everything happens at the pro level poses problems, especially with all of the other keys and responsibilities that LBs have.  Essentially what the Riders do is play a 4-2-5 front, with Harris listed as an LB but taking on a ton of coverage duty out of the box.  Having 3 rookies playing amongst your front 6 would be a problem for any team.
  • Now as far as 2014 goes, the only thing I can think of as to why teams looked to have success on the ground is the necessity to stay out of 2nd and 7+ situations.  As I said, I've never looked at a stat that reflected the original question, but with the 2014 Rider defense teams would do anything to avoid being in a passing situation against a defense that had unreal sack and pressure numbers.  The only way to keep that 2014 defense away from opposing QBs was to be in 2nd & 4-5 scenario's which meant teams would have to find success on 1st down, primarily with the run.  Another thing that worked against the Riders last year was having Doubles go down for the year.  Playing with Tino Sunseri and Kerry Joseph meant a lot more 2 & outs and turnovers.  The Rider defense was on the field a whole lot more when the team lost their franchise player.  It may have been the case of simply having more opportunities than normal.  I remember watching the Western Semi-final last year and it seemed like the D was on the field the ENTIRE game.

Via Twitter

Heard you were at the Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria.  What do you recommend?

  • That was my first time at Famoso's and it definitely won't be my last!  That place was off the hook.  I believe that they open to the public today.  Make sure you order the Mozza Balls to start, and as far as pizza goes, our table crushed 4, and all of them were awesome.  We actually had a conversation about Regina needing more restaurants like Famoso's downtown in order to liven up that area, especially the bars.  When people come from out of town, they don't want to go all the way out to Harbour Landings Canadian Brewhouse just to watch the game.  There needs to be more places like the Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria.  You can watch the game, sit on the patio, or smash some good food.  I'm game for all three.  See you there some time.

Via Twitter

What's the most important thing the Riders need to do in order to turn the ship around?

  • The first thing players, and coaches to some extent, need to do is understand that they're not going to get everything done in one big chunk.  The team has to chip away at the season piece by piece, and know that they can't start stringing victories together until they win the first 1.  Going to Calgary is a always a fun game to play in with a heavy contingent of the crowd wearing Rider green, so it's not like the squad has to prepare like they're headed to the Roman Coliseum.  A few weeks back, we talked about everyone in the organization having to look at themselves in the mirror and do an honest self-evaluation.  Hopefully the guys took the bye-week to do a lot of reflecting, and they come back feeling refreshed and ready to attack success.  It's easy from here on out.  Have fun, count your blessings and let the media count their problems, and continue to play for the guys in the locker room.  All the focus needs to be zeroed in on the Stampeders...The Roughriders can't turn things around until they win the first one.  Why not do it against the defending Grey Cup Champs.
Via Twitter

BIG WIN FOR THE THUNDER ON SATURDAY...What impressed you the most about the team?
  • Two things.  I loved the way our offense moved the ball, and I thought that Stefan Endsin (the Thunder OC) called a great game.  There is a lot of talent on that side, and it's been obvious watching them practise, however that was the first time I've really gotten to watch them put it all together.  The amount of hours that the entire staff put into the whole process is staggering.  The players have really responded to the coaching thus far, but the journey is barely underway at this point.  The goal is to win a National Championship, and that was a good first step.  On to the Edmonton Wildcats!  #TogetherWeRoll