History set to repeat in Riderville

Team mired in four-game losing streak
Reported by Joel Gasson
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History is repeating for the Saskatchewan Roughriders; the only question is which piece of history will it be?

Struggling in September is nothing new for the Riders. Back in 2007 and 2008 it was a bad month of the team. However, one year ended very differently than the other: in 2007 the Green and White won the Grey Cup while in 2008 they ended up fizzling out and losing early in the playoffs.

There are two members of the Green and White that were on both of those teams: linebacker Mike McCullough and fullback Neal Hughes.

In 2007 a three game losing streak came at the exact same time as the current streak that has now stretched to four games. So how did the team get out of it and go on to win the cup?

"Matter of everybody believing in each other. We did a lot of things outside of the game of football to build some comradery," said Hughes.

The Riders have done a little bit of off-field bonding, but to what extent we don't know. The biggest thing that year was the group believed in each other, as Hughes went to say the group motto was, "Now is our time." They were right.

So far this year has been a roller-coaster for Rider Nation as a home playoff game seemed like a lock earlier in the year. Now those hopes have been severely damaged and there's a lot more questions than answers. But for veterans like McCullough this isn't their first rodeo.

"I don't get too high with the highs and too low with the lows," said McCullough. "Kind of stay even keeled pretty good."

McCullough claims that he doesn't really remember that losing skid in 2007 or even what the team's record was that year, but despite the struggles of the current team McCullough still has a good feeling about this group.

"It's one of those intangibles you can't really put a finger on," said McCullough. "Just the feeling you get when you're in that room."

Whether that's true or not we'll have to wait and see, but one thing is for sure: a lot will have to change between now and then for that to happen. Mostly that change will have to come on offense as basically every aspect of that side of the game is struggling with no real sign of improvement.

The good news is running back Kory Sheets might be able to return Friday night in B.C., having practiced more as last week went on. He was even running the ball for the scout team offense late in the week. We might have a better idea of Sheets' status on Tuesday as head coach Corey Chamblin will meet with the media in the morning. It does appear that Wednesday will be the team's only official practice in Regina this week.

Whatever the answers are they need to get figured out quickly, as one of the two previous paths will be travelled down again in Saskatchewan this year.

"We all have to come together and play tough Roughrider football," said Hughes.