Roughriders veterans put to the test after first loss

Team with the chance to prove they're different from last year
Reported by Joel Gasson
Change text size: + -

It's almost like a bad case of deja vu for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Last year the Riders went into Calgary undefeated and on a roll; they ended up losing their first game of the season. This year, they're rolling into Calgary and suffer their first loss of the season.

Last year we all know what happened after they blew that big lead in the fourth quarter in Calgary, now the Riders have another chance to prove how this year's team is different than last years.

"This team is different than last years," said defensive lineman Keith Shologan. "Any comparison doesn't have anything behind it."

Shologan feels they already showed how different they are in that loss by fighting back like they did in the third quarter.

"You saw us comeback and then got back into it, it was just a game," said Shologan. "It's going to show what kind of team we are when we play Montreal."

For times likes these is exactly why the Riders brought in all kinds of veteran leadership in the off season , and Shologan feels it's already paying off as they've been stepping up in the locker room this week. Everyone even had a chance to watch film together without any of the coaches around.

"The vets spoke up about what went on in that game, and what we can do to prevent certain things from happening," said quarterback Darian Durant. "I think that definitely is all about our leadership."

This week could be the first time will actually watch the game film with a bad taste in their mouth, as human nature will often allow a player to be harsher on themselves after a loss than a win.

"Yes and no," said Shologan. "After a loss you kind of shoot yourself for what you did wrong, you already know what you did wrong."

Shologan adds the worst part of watching game film after a loss is when you see a play that they felt was executed well by the defense, but at the end of the day it didn't work, as it either ended in a big gain or a touchdown.

This coming week, and the ones ahead will also be a test of the team's mental toughness, as between now and the end of the Banjo Bowl, the Riders will not face a team anywhere near .500. Head Coach Corey Chamblin has always stated that every game is the most important that week; these games will definitely be a test for that.

"We haven't even talked about that," said receiver Chris Getzlaf. "We're approaching this week like we would any other week."

We all knew the Riders weren't going to go 20-0 on their way to a Grey Cup victory, so certainly this is something they would have to go through eventually, and at the end of the day, losing can actually be a good thing for team, and a great teaching tool.

"It was good to have that losing taste in our mouths," said Durant. "It's something we don't want to have to go through again."

News and notes

- Weston Dressler and Jock Sanders did not practice on Tuesday. Chamblin expects both to be back at some point this week.

- The team is practicing at Leibel Field this week because of the Paul McCartney concert at Mosaic Stadium. Chamblin doesn't see the daily bus rides as much of a problem or a distraction for his players.

- Chamblin wouldn't really comment when asked if Jon Cornish should have faced further discipline from the league, but does expect that the Stamps will deal with it.