Roughriders special teams have it covered

Bob Dyce doesn't feel the need to prove anyone wrong
Reported by Joel Gasson
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As the Riders enjoy their bye week, the special teams unit has definitely earned their time off.

The Riders 5-0 start to the season is thanks to them dominating in all three aspects of the game so far. You could say though, overall, no unit has been more consistent for the Riders than their special teams unit.

Earlier in the year their punt return unit was getting some attention for the room they were creating for return man Jock Sanders, now it's the cover team that gaining attention by shutting down some of the league's best returners so far this season.

"It's tough to make plays on special teams right now," said linebacker Sam Hurl. "Because there's so many guys flying down the field making tackles and getting to the ball."

Hurl can definitely talk to how difficult it is for special teamers to get their stats right now, as his numbers are nowhere near where they were last year at this point. In his rookie year Hurl was routinely near the top of the leader board in special teams tackles. This year that hasn't been the case coming into last week's game against Hamilton defensive back Paul Waldu and long snapper Cory Huclack were actually leading the team in special teams tackles. Waldu was actually second in the CFL in that category.

Hurl has played on a lot of special teams units in his time in football, but he can't remember a group like this one.

"I don't think any team other team has a group like this," he said. "We have something real special going on."

During the off season a lot was made about former special team coordinator Craig Dickenson leaving for Winnipeg, and former offensive coordinator Bob Dyce taking over his job. Some questioned whether Dyce was capable of taking over for someone who many consider the best special teams coordinator in the league.

Not surprisingly, the ever classy Dyce isn't really thinking about that and giving all of the credit to his players.

"One thing about coaching is you don't necessarily care about what other people think," said Dyce. "I'm excited for the guys and the success they've had."

Certainly one thing that is working in the Riders favour is the punting of Ricky Schmitt. He's been kicking the cover off the ball all year, routinely averaging over 45 yards a punt, often with incredible hang time.

"Ricky Schmitt just kills the ball," said Hurl. "That makes our life so much easier."

Quietly kicker Chris Milo has had a very good start to his season as well, as he has yet to miss a kick attempt of any kind, be it field goal or extra point attempt. Milo also hasn't had one blocked and ruled a fumble either.

Much like the team every week, Milo isn't actually thinking about his streak to start the season.

"You got to go one-for-one every time," said Milo. "It's not a matter of streaks or anything like that, it's just a matter of helping the team out when they need it."

So far, special teams have more than helped the Riders, and success will continue to follow if they can keep it up.