The Saskatchewan Roughriders are dealing with another week without veteran Canadian receiver Chris Getzlaf.
Getzlaf missed last week’s game against the Calgary Stampeders. At the time, it appeared his injury was minor when he was placed on the one-game injured list.
Now, it appears Getzlaf could be out longer after leaving practice with a undisclosed injury to his left leg on Wednesday.
Without Getzlaf, the attention once again turns to the team’s crop of young receivers, especially the Canadians, to continue their growth and make a difference against the RedBlacks on Sunday afternoon.
“Every day these cats come to practice and they’re willing to learn to get better,” said receivers coach Jermaine Copeland.
“They respect everything that I say and they try to go out there and do everything to the best of their abilities. That’s all you can ask for.”
At the start of the season, Copeland’s group of starting receivers were all at least 30 years old. Now, only Weston Dressler and Rob Bagg remain from that group.
The good news for the Riders is the young talent has not looked out of place since being forced into the lineup.
After an injury early in the season, Nic Demski is improving every week.
“I’ve grown from there as a person and a football player,” he said.
“I’m just going to keep developing my skills and keep doing it.”
The numbers don’t exactly jump off the page for Demski with only five catches for 109 yards. What Demski has proven he can do is create the big play as he is averaging 21.8 yards per catch, thanks mostly to a 72 yard catch-and-run last week.
Carroll and American rookie Devin Wilson both found the end zone against the Stampeders.
“It’s huge. For three first-year players to come in and do that for this team, it’s really good for our confidence,” said Demski.
These receivers are bringing it on the field but they’re also helping the team off of it as well. As a group, they’re not leaders just yet but their youthful enthusiasm is definitely helping the team stay up beat and working hard through this 0-8 start to the season.
“I don’t think you would (have the enthusiasm) if you had a bunch of older guys. I think that’s a big key there,” said Copeland.
As dark as this season has been for the team so far, the play of some of their younger talent has been a bright spot.
Now, that younger talent will be leaned upon heavily to try and finally get them over the hump.
NEWS AND NOTES
Head coach Corey Chamblin had more information on the status of Getzlaf after Thursday’s closed practice. Getlzaf is dealing with a foot strain, Chamblin still couldn’t say when Getzlaf might return to the lineup. It won’t be this week.
Offensive lineman Randy Richards was fined the maximum amount on Wednesday for his clothesline on Stampeders kick-returner Tim Brown. Richards is going to explore his options to see if the fine can be reduced. As it stands right now, Richards will have to pay half of his game cheque. Richards told the league in a meeting about the play that he was just trying to make a play.