Without a doubt, the Riders would prefer last year’s plus temperatures, but instead, they’ll be battling the snow and cold for their season finale Saturday night.
With temperatures hovering below zero and several centimetres of snow expected throughout the day on Saturday, the green and white opted not to move their practices inside this week in preparation for what could be during the game against Edmonton.
The air may be cooler and white stuff may fall from the sky, but head coach Chris Jones said it doesn’t change their approach.
“(The) play calling is a little bit more conservative, I think, but pretty much you just have to go out there and do what you do,” he said after walkthrough on Friday afternoon.
However, quarterback Kevin Glenn said the weather does pose a few problems.
“Footing is probably the biggest thing. We play a game where we’re always running, so being able to have your footing and not slip and fall is a big thing,” said Glenn. “And the next thing is just holding on to the ball because when it gets cold the ball gets kind of slick.”
Running back Kienan LaFrance has some experience with the snow and cold, having his best game of his career during a blizzard in the eastern final.
“You’re going to be soaking wet when you’re playing in the snow and it makes you tough to be tackled so you’ve got to use that to your advantage, keep running strong and just break off some tackles,” he explained.
Even being Canadian and having the success he has, he said he doesn’t really like to play in the cold, and Glenn said he also prefers the snow over the cold weather.
“I think technically if it snows it’s warmer,” Glenn said. “But I would definitely ‘x’ out the wind in any of those situations.”
With so many players from climates where they aren’t used to snow, the team was getting creative during practice to stay warm including a “Minion walk.”
Braving the weather?⛄️
— Sask. Roughriders (@sskroughriders) November 3, 2017
Glenn said the snow seems to have loosened the team up a bit and eased the pressure.
“Everyone is trying to block out the wind and the cold so they’re trying to do all these different things to occupy their mind and time instead of standing and shivering,” he said, adding it shows how they’ve grown together as a team.
“It’s probably 30 guys out there doing the Minion walk thing. It’s cool, it’s cool to see that because you have to be able to get along in the locker room on the field in order to be a good team.”
And while the last time the Riders met the Esks they put a whopping 54 points on the board. Jones is not expecting the same this time around – especially with Edmonton having a home playoff game still on the line (as long as Winnipeg loses Friday night).
“They certainly have broken out of their slump and they’re the hottest team in the league right now,” Jones said. “We’ve played some very good football down the stretch – stubbed our toe the other day against Ottawa (but) it’s going to be an awfully good football game.”
Kick off is at 5 p.m. At Mosaic Stadium with the Green Zone 10-hour game day beginning at 1 p.m.
- A Winnipeg Win or an Edmonton Loss means Winnipeg clinches second place in the division and will host the Western Semi-Final on November 12.
- An Edmonton Win and a Winnipeg Loss or Tie means Edmonton will host the Western Semi-Final against Winnipeg and Saskatchewan will crossover and play in the Eastern Semi-Final November 12 against Toronto or Ottawa.
- Saskatchewan Win means Saskatchewan clinches third place in the West Division and will play in the Western Semi-Final against Winnipeg on November 12 and Edmonton will crossover and play in the Eastern Semi-Final November 12 against Toronto or Ottawa.
- If Edmonton and Saskatchewan tie, Saskatchewan will be the crossover team.
- A three-way tie is possible for second place if Winnipeg losses and Saskatchewan wins. In the case of this, it goes to head-to-head record with the teams tied with each other. Winnipeg would be 4-1, Saskatchewan would be 3-2 and Edmonton would be 0-4 resulting in Winnipeg hosting the Western Semi-Final game versus Saskatchewan and Edmonton crossing over to the East Division.