PREVIEW: Riders looking for their first win in four games against B.C.

Green Zone Pre-Game show begins at 6:30 p.m. on News Talk Radio
Reported by Joel Gasson
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A quick turnaround for the Saskatchewan Roughriders will have them in B.C. on Friday trying to end a four game losing skid against the Lions.

A quick turnaround could also be in order on the field, as a win is badly needed to keep the Green and White in the mix not only for first place in the West Division but also for a home playoff game in general.

Usually in football a short week is seen as a bad thing; players have less time to rest up and there's less time to game plan for your next opponent. However, this short week seems to have given the Riders a new lease on life as the atmosphere at practice (the one day they practiced in Regina anyway) was different than it had been in recent weeks.

"I think the short week helps," said defensive end Ricky Foley. "The other three losses that we had, we had a long week or a seven day break. You have two or three days to break down the old film and it's just kind of that losing of last week is still in your conscious."

Foley adds that with the short week they haven't really had time to watch film as a group, so everyone had to do it on their own and try to correct their own mistakes. Less time to prepare for the game means this week is more about football than anything else.

"When we were 8-1 we weren't thinking about losing or winning," said Foley. "We were just thinking about going out, playing and whooping the guys face in front of us."

That very much seems to be the mentality this week: going out and playing football.

"Not worried about schemes so much, it's about beating the man across from you," said Darian Durant. "Going one-on-one and making plays."

Making plays is something this offence has to start doing if the Riders want to get their season back on track. While they've moved the ball well at times, the biggest problem has been finishing and taking advantage of opportunities given to them by their defense and opposing teams.

"Focus on green zone offence," said Durant. "When you get the ball inside the five yard line, you have to score touchdowns."

Since the Banjo Bowl the Riders have been deep in the redzone many times. On three separate occasions they've even been inside the 10 yard line and came away with nothing. The latest such failure came last week in Montreal when the offence was stopped three times in a row, all on the ground.

During that series of unfortunate events the ball was handed off to Chris Garrett twice and Drew Willy tried to sneak it in once. With a 20-yard deep and 65 yard wide end zone why not throw it at least once?

"Probably because you're on the one, it's easy to get one when you're one yard off the ball," said head coach Corey Chamblin.

Or apparently it's not so easy, based on recent events.

The red zone luck could change this week with the return of the league's leading rusher, Kory Sheets, to the lineup. Sheets has been pretty efficient at the goal line during his time with the team. Sheets' return should open up the playbook too.

"More so after the game I can answer that," said Chamblin. "But yes, in theory it should."

The return of Sheets should be able to help against the blitz as well, as there's actually the threat that they could run football. If you include a few sneaks from Willy the Riders have only rushed for 73 yards since Sheets got injured against Toronto.

His return isn't the only lineup change being made. Based on practice this week it appears Rod Williams will make his Riders debut on the corner. Tristan Jackson also appears poised to be at corner with Prince Miller coming out of the lineup. Jock Sanders is also coming back into the lineup and could return kicks as well.

The game also marks the first time Geroy Simon will play at B.C. Place in a colour other than orange in a very long time. Needless to say Simon is excited.

"One, just to see my family," he said. "I haven't seen them in a few weeks."

It's been an eventful few weeks for Simon with his recent pursuit of the all-time receptions record in the CFL. Now he's going back to where he became the player he is today.

While Simon is looking forward to the game, his teammates want to see him strike that Superman pose on his old turf.

"I want to see it so bad, I can't wait," said Durant. "I'm definitely going to give him an opportunity."

Game time is at 8 p.m. on TSN. The Green Zone Pre-Game show gets underway at 6:30 p.m. on News Talk Radio, live from the Lancaster Taphouse in Regina.

Following the game come back to News Talk Radio for the Green Zone Post-Game show as the Green Zone team takes your calls at 1-877-300-7275 and your texts at 306306.