Guess who's back.
Me, Cooper; but it's also the Saskatchewan Roughriders for their 2023 season. Tagging this as "The Scoop with Coop" is just gravy.
Today marks the start of Training Camp 2023 for the Roughriders. The CFL Draft was held back on May 2, and now the newest members of the green and white are in Saskatoon at Griffiths Stadium practicing until Friday.
One of those draft picks actually has a local connection. Defensive back Jaxon Ford was selected by the Roughriders out of the University of Regina, where he was a teammate of west central native Derek Walde during his time on the team. Ford is also the grandson of former Roughriders legend Allan Ford.
Main camp starts on Sunday at 9:00 AM after a day off on Saturday.
That's when the veterans show up. Our favourite Roughrider in #63 Logan Ferland will be entering his third training camp as a full-time player. Second time up as one of the vets.
We chatted with Ferland after the season. He was given the Team's Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman award, an interesting honour for a team that's offensive line was much maligned in the media throughout the season.
They allowed 77 sacks last season. As much as it hurts to note, the Blue Bombers have surrendered just 80 sacks over the last three seasons.
Saskatchewan made offensive line a major focus for the offseason. Multiple new faces were brought in that can start, meaning Ferland will have some healthy competition this year for the starting role he has held each of the past two seasons.
Last year was a disappointment. Nobody will deny that. The team turned a corner for the worse about halfway through the season, and the thought of kickoff 2023 couldn't come fast enough as the season ended in a 7-game losing skid.
Mix that in with the fact that the Grey Cup was held in their own backyard at Mosaic Stadium, and the offseason must have felt longer than ever.
Ferland and the Roughriders start the work back to winning football on Sunday, with lots was left to be desired after 2022.
It'll be a brand-new look on offense with the already mentioned help in the trenches, and a new passing game featuring Trevor Harris and a fresh stable of receivers. Last year's running tandem of Jamal Morrow and Frankie Hickson will help with at least a little consistency on that side of the ball.
It was a tale of two seasons during last year's regular season stretch.
Fans were confident enough that the Roughriders had what it took in the west to run the table and play for the Grey Cup at home, after an early season stretch that saw them rack up what ended up being most of their wins.
By the end of the year, fans were just hoping they could make some noise from the crossover position. Hey, in a 9-team league anything can happen!
The next few weeks will sow the seeds of the Roughriders 2023 season. The crop will look a little different this time of year.
All that matters is another opportunity at harvesting the Grey Cup in Hamilton later this season for the 110th edition of Canada's championship game.