Early in the season there were big concerns about the Roughriders’ offensive line, but the last few weeks should have silenced most of the critics.
The Roughriders have allowed 14 sacks this season, but in the last four weeks have only allowed one.
“As a unit in general we’re getting better,” said quarterback Zach Collaros Thursday. “The communication throughout the entire week – not just on game day – has been very good … (Centre) Dan (Clark) just getting us in the right protections and guys are doing their job.”
Lineman Brendon LaBatte agreed.
He said there hasn’t been a big philosophical change in how the offensive line has done their job. They’re just more focused on getting the little things right.
“We’ve tightened down. A little more attention to detail and some physical one-on-one protection issues and we’ve put a little extra time into meetings and the schematics of our protection. Those are the two things that we’ve kind of changed up,” LaBatte said.
Except they’ve also changed the quarterback. Zach Collaros is back behind centre after sitting out four games with a concussion.
“It definitely helps when you’ve got a guy that’s comfortable in the pocket to be able to move around in there and he’s got a quick release too,” LaBatte said. “Sacks aren’t always the true indicator of the o-line. You’ve still got pressures and stuff like that and Zach does a good job of avoiding his hits by getting the ball out.”
“His presence alone and his leadership alone is very much seen on and off the field,” added right tackle Thaddeus Coleman.
Adding to the team’s success has been a surging run game that is now second in the league behind the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
And those touchdowns – or lack thereof – don’t worry about those. The offensive line isn’t.
“It’s going to come. Zach just got back, he’s getting his feet wet and as an offence we’re going to throw the ball more but we’re going to run the ball as well,” Coleman said.
“We’re going to score touchdowns. They’re going to come – just got to be a little more patient.”