The Saskatchewan Roughriders continue to have a penalty problem.
This week, it appears they’ve taken the first step to recovery by admitting that they do in fact have a problem.
“Like I told these guys, some of you guys are like college players right now and it’s making me be like a college head coach. Until you get self-disciplined, I will have to continue discipline you to right that ship.” – Chamblin
During the team’s first practice since their bye week on Tuesday, discipline was handed out for penalties. Not just for the individual offender, but everyone on the committing team, be it defence, offence or special teams.
“My first grade teacher told me the good suffers with the bad,” said head coach Corey Chamblin.
Multiple times throughout practice a penalty would be called by either Chamblin, special teams coordinator Bob Dyce or any other coach. The whistle blew and 25 or so men, whether they were on the field during the play or not, were forced to do some up downs.
“I don’t really like to get into the disciplining part,” said Chamblin.
“Like I told the guys, some of you guys are like college players right now and it’s making me be like a college head coach. Until you get self-disciplined, I will have to continue discipline you to right that ship.”
Righting that ship will take a whole lot of work. Through seven games and a week off the Riders continue to lead the league in both total number of penalties (109) and penalty yards (924).
Those numbers ballooned badly after the team’s effort against the Argonauts which saw them flagged 24 penalties for 192 yards. A number of penalties were also declined.
“Discipline is very important,” said safety Tyron Brackenridge.
“Whatever it takes to get us to become more of a disciplined football team and take fewer penalties, we’re willing to do it.”
More concerning than the number of penalties and yardage is the number of big plays that have been wiped out.
That was never more evident than during the game in Toronto when Brett Smith had at least two touchdowns wiped off the board because of penalties.
“I didn’t look took much into the penalties,” said Smith.
“I kind of understand which penalties happened where and why they happened. These guys have been playing the game a long time; I think that will get corrected fast.”
Canadian content boost
The Riders will get a key Canadian back in the lineup this weekend against the Calgary Stampeders.
Safety Keenan MacDougall returns after suffering an injury early in the first quarter against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in week one.
“It’s been a long seven weeks. I’ve been kind of frustrated watching on the sidelines but I’m definitely excited to be back now,” he said.
MacDougall has only been practice for the last couple of weeks. So, he admits there’s still some rust being knocked off.
“With the six game rules you’re not allowed to practice for four of those weeks. So, (I’m) just trying to get those mental reps in beforehand so it’s not so foreign to you when you’re back on the field.”
It appears MacDougall will play a special teams role against Calgary.
News and Notes
Chamblin did not have an update on the status of injured linebacker Jake Doughty, offensive lineman Levy Adcock and receiver Chris Getzlaf after Wednesday’s closed practice. A decision on their status for Saturday’s game against Calgary could be announced on Thursday.
Ryan Smith’s birthday is on Wednesday. His teammates celebrated by taping him to the pole of the uprights in the south end zone and drenching him with water and shaving cream.