The clouds cleared and the Riders fans in Saskatoon were treated to a full practice plus a little extra from the green and white at SMF Field on Saturday afternoon.
The day started with the Roughriders State of the Union with Vice President of Football Operations and Head Coach Chris Jones, and Assistant-Vice Presidents Jeremy O’Day and John Murphy taking questions from the fans before practice began at three with autographs shortly after.
Here are few of the highlights from the annual event in Riderville North.
1. The Hoggies can catch
As practice came to a close the offensive line took turns receiving punts from the machine. Dan Clark, Eddie Steele and others tried to catch as many as they could while still holding on the first and second balls they had already caught. The whole exercise thrilled the fans and the players seemed to really enjoy it too.
— Arielle Zerr (@arielle_zerr) June 2, 2018
2. The Riders have done more than 1000 reps (snaps) at camp so far
With one more week to go before their last preseason game Chris Jones said he’s happy with how camp has been going so far. Over 11 days the team has done “13-hundred and seventy-something” reps, according to Jones, so the Green and White Day was a bit of a rest day for the players. “Trying to get (the players) off their legs we didn’t want to have any soft tissue injuries and that type thing. We wanted to get lined up and make sure the quarterbacks went through their reads and deliver the football. That’s what we wanted to accomplish today.”
Overall, Jones has been happy with how practice has been throughout the last two weeks. “We’ve got a really, really good group, they’re fun to be around.”
3. Jones still keeping an eye on penalties
Referees joined the team for Green and White Day so the coaches could get a good idea of how often the team was taking penalties. Jones is especially worried about offsides and time count violations and earlier in the week was punishing the offending players with “up-downs” (basically a simpler version of the burpee). “Last time we played we had two or three time counts and then we had two or three offside penalties and so we tried to get (the referees) to govern that real hard and it cost a couple big plays today with our receivers off side.” Receiver Kyran Moore was burned by his teammates twice because of offsides both receptions would have been touchdowns.
4. Gainey, Owens, Messam sit out
Three of the Roughriders biggest names did not participate in Green and White Day. Messam is on a pitch count, while Gainey is “a little bit banged up” according to Jones. As for Owens, he went down during practice on Friday.
— Keenan Sorokan (@KeenanSorokan) June 1, 2018
“He’s still nicked up right now and we’re still evaluating,” Jones said Saturday.
5. Riders visit Humboldt Sunday
The Roughriders will head up to Humboldt and hold “walk-through” practice and barbecue in the community. It’s been almost two months since the city was rocked by a bus crash that killed 16 members of the Broncos hockey team and injured 13 others. ” My heart goes out to those folks,” Jones said. “The Riders are important to this province and certainly we want to pay our respects to the community.”
It’s all happening and Glen Hall Park starting at noon. The barbecue and autograph session begins at 1 p.m.