That’s the word Roughriders’ defensive end Willie Jefferson used when asked how quarterbacks should feel going up against his team’s defensive line.
It’s not that it wasn’t scary before, it’s just that the Riders went out in the off-season and added two of the league’s best defensive lineman: Charleston Hughes and Zack Evans.
Hughes, who was the CFL’s back-to-back sack leader the last two seasons, was acquired by the Roughriders in a trade with Calgary and inked a contract extension not long after. Evans was lured to Saskatchewan as a free agent, returning to the team where he started his career and the province he grew up in.
Jefferson was no slouch himself, leading the league in quarterback pressures as well as sacking the quarterback eight times in 2017.
“Just from seeing us in the first days … I can just say it’s going to be real fun,” Jefferson said with a sly smile.
“We have the two-time defending sack leader (in Charleston Hughes), me on the other side and then Zack … It’s going to be crazy.”
Head coach Chris Jones is also excited about the new additions to the defensive line and the potential it gives for Jefferson to have an even better season.
“If he doesn’t get double teamed he’s pretty hard to handle,” Jones said after Monday’s practice. “I think with Charleston (Hughes) on the other side and some of these guys we’re adding (other teams) are not going to be able to just put their double team to Willie.”
And speaking of new additions, Jefferson welcomed his first child — Kelley Brielle Jefferson — into the world with his wife Holly in April.
“It’s amazing, it’s a life-changing experience (becoming a father). Having to leave her and my wife and coming out here to work with the guys gave me a little break from being a dad, but it all translates (into football).”
For starters, he said it’s made him a better teacher.
“Me showing her how to grow and be better, I just translate that out to the new guys out here … just telling them to keep their heads up, work hard. If they didn’t get it right this time then next time try to make it better.”
Having Kelley changed Jefferson in ways he couldn’t even imagine and he can’t wait to see how much she’s grown when she and Holly join him in Saskatchewan at the start of the season.
And Holly has been an anchor for Jefferson for much of his football career so having her in Regina with him is important. They dated for a time in college, got back together in 2015 and they were married earlier this year.
“I always leave my wife for camp and I always get like ‘awe, I wish she was here’ type vibes,” Jefferson admitted.
“Football wives are very important, very amazing, very resilient,” he said. “Just having to keep everything in line, take care of a football player and a baby at the same time, it’s amazing. I wish more football wives, athletes’ wives got more recognition.”
Roughriders training camp continues on Tuesday from 9 a.m. To 12:30 p.m.but will be hosted at SMF Field instead of Griffiths Stadium.
- It hit roughly 28 degrees Monday and the heat was affecting some of the players as practice went past its second of three hours. Several players went down with cramping throughout the morning. “We watered ’em down at the halfway point and came back out. We got to be a little bit tougher, too,” said Jones. “That’s part of two-a-days.”
- Receiver Jake Harty went down awkwardly in practice on Sunday and Jones confirmed it does not look good for him. He said the team does not have an official diagnosis yet but it’s doubtful he’ll be back.
- Zack Evans left practice early with lower body tightness. Crezdon Butler also exited early and Dan Clark left but returned not long after.
- Jones also expressed his disbelief when explaining why Rakeem Cox hadn’t been practicing yet. “He hurt himself tying his shoe, unbelievably. First day he was tying his shoe and something happened with his back.” Jones hopes he’ll be able to rejoin the team on the field in a couple of days.