The Saskatchewan Roughriders nearly escaped the Labour Day Classic against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers with a much needed win, but the group was forced to leave with only a moral victory in the rivalry game last week after losing 20-18.
West Central Online spoke with Roughriders starting offensive lineman Logan Ferland following his second Labour Day Classic. The team has battled through injuries all year, and now Ferland is officially on the injured list for the first time in his CFL career.
"I am just trying to stay healthy too. The first snap I messed my back up, so I played through that the whole game," he shared the day after the Riders loss.
Because he was listed as questionable on the team's injury report all week long it was no surprise to see the Roughriders ironman not listed on the official depth chart ahead of the rematch. After not missing a snap last week, Ferland is set to miss his first game as a CFL player after he impressively enough took the field for every one of the Roughriders offensive snaps in 2021.
Once again this week's gameday injury report featured some notable names for the Roughriders which you can see below. Josiah St. John will take Ferland's spot at left guard in the Banjo Bowl, as you can read the full depth chart for the game here.
Injury report & game status - September 8, 2022. pic.twitter.com/ambfbyyS9i— Saskatchewan Roughriders (@sskroughriders) September 8, 2022
Their latest loss is giving off more positive vibes than the Roughriders previous efforts that couldn't get the job done, and hopefully the feeling is something that can keep the team pointed in the right direction as they head into the key stretch of the season that comes after Labour Day Weekend.
Even though it ended with a late turnover that had the fans calling for the quarterback's head once again, believe it or not things might be beginning to click in Riderville.
With the addition of Brayden Lenius to the lineup after his NFL tryout, in line with the re-additions of Shaq Evans and Kyran Moore, quarterback Cody Fajardo has all of the weapons in place to get his confidence back.
Add that to a running game that currently leads the league in rushing at 108.8 yards per game and a defense that has also gotten healthy over the past few weeks, and the recipe is there:
The League's rushing leader in back-to-back weeks caps off his achievement by being voted @thewirelessage Player of the Game for Week 13.— Saskatchewan Roughriders (@sskroughriders) September 9, 2022
The question now is: What does #20 have in store for the rematch?#RematchSzn🍉 pic.twitter.com/bKujc4znCE
Ferland shared his thoughts on the offense as he prepares to watch the Banjo Bowl from home.
"I think the receivers are meshing really well with Cody. We are starting to get guys back, and the more playing time they get together more chemistry is going to develop, and the more you are going to see the offense be fluid."
Next the National lineman talked about his current running back Frankie Hickson, who frankly hits like a truck despite his 5'8, 200 pound frame. He started the year as one part of a terrific tandem with Jamal Morrow, but with the Riders main tailback out with injury the past few games the spotlight has fallen on Hickson.
"(Hickson) is an animal. Everyone is shocked by him and his running, but we've known the player he is since day one and he just keeps showing it over and over again. He's a beast, and we do our best to open it up in front for him."
The much maligned Roughriders offensive line has taken its hits on social media more than most units across the league in 2022, but there is no denying their penchant for running the ball and how well it works out for the Green and White when the offense totes the rock as much as they possibly can.
If the big man isn't sure what to do with himself on gameday, perhaps he can request some tips from Dan Clark who has been out since Week 2 with a leg injury. Ferland gave an update on the Roughriders veteran centre who some hoped would be back on the field by Labour Day.
"He's good. He's picking away and taking it week by week. From what I hear he is doing pretty well, and is rehabbing twice as fast as anyone else because he is just that type of guy. He's been a beast through the whole process, and I'm really happy for him and can't wait to have him back on the field here hopefully soon."
The Roughriders have been forced to use several different offensive line combinations so far this season, and Saturday's game will be no different as Kooper Richardson draws in for his first game getting the start at right tackle. Jamal Campbell returns to his spot as the 6th man with Josiah St. John picking up the start at guard.
With key players returning from injury soon on both sides of the ball, Ferland feels the current part of their season could be setting up for something big.
That has to be the attitude in a CFL room regardless of record, but even more so when you are hosting the Grey Cup.
With something left to desire after such a close game, last week's result against Winnipeg might bode well for the Riders as they face off once again against their rivals; who interestingly enough already clinched their spot in the playoffs as we move into Week 14.
"At least there is a lot to improve on, and it just gives us that confidence back," said Ferland. "I think we got a good shot here."
Hopefully the locally known offensive lineman can get fully healthy in time for the team's stretch run as teams enter the colder months; aka the perfect time for ground and pound football, something that could potentially take the Roughriders all the way to the promise land.