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!!!
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.
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.
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.
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