Thursday, September 3, 2015
This and That
The weekly assortment of thoughts running through my muddled mind and as always, they are in no particular order.
--The University of Regina Rams begin the Canada West season and I'm excited. It will look different seeing Mike Gibson on the field calling the shots instead of Frank McCrystal and I think I'm safe in saying the Rams won't be considered Vanier Cup contenders in Gibson's first year, but he has a solid group to work with and I'm looking forward to their season opener at Mosaic against the University of Alberta Golden Bears. You can go to the game, you can listen to the game on 620 CKRM with Michael Ball or you can stay home and watch it on Access 7 as I will have the play-by-play. I highly advise Option 1 or 2 in this scenario. The game will also be televised back in Edmonton for those who have SHAW. Its part of an expanded Canada West football package that will see the Hardy Cup broadcast on Global television along with one of the two semi-final games. This is great for the conference and for CIS football as a whole. I hope its the start of bigger and better things.
--While the Rams do their thing Friday night, the Regina Thunder will go up to battle the Hilltops in an all-Saskatchewan PFC final and what really should be the first of 3 games between the two as they are head and shoulders the best in the league again this year and should meet in the final. I don't know about you, and maybe it is because one team has done better when it comes to wins and losses over the last couple of years, but for the first time, more people in this town it seems are talking Thunder than Rams. Yes, the Thunder gets a head-start on the Rams, but I am hearing more and more Thunder chatter this year and less and less Rams chatter.
--Everyone else is doing it so I might as well too when it comes to the Saskatchewan Roughriders as they are taking a gamble and "rolling the Dyce" in the second half of the season which begins Sunday. I love what Dyce could bring to the table, but I hope a rabid fan-base isn't expecting any miracles out of the 48 year old. There is an excitement out there with the coaching change, but just because Bob is the head coach doesn't mean those guys on the injury list come back and it doesn't give the young players on the team more experience, but it may give them a different attitude and it may very well give them the chance Sunday night to talk about a win instead of a loss which I think all players want to do.
--I was asked if Tino Sunseri was the worst quarterback the Riders have had since the end of the Ron Lancaster era this week. I couldn't say yes, but I couldn't remember anyone who might have been worse. He was the most frustrating quarterback I've ever seen in the green and white. THROW THE DAMN BALL!!!! By the way, there are a lot of bad quarterbacks that have worn green and white in the post Lancaster era. Let's not forget the likes of Marvin Graves, Bernard Quarles, Jonathan Beasley, Keith Smith, Floyd Patterson and Seth Doege---although Doege didn't give us much of a sample size, but remember his debut against Calgary last year.
--Has anyone checked on the fine people of Chamberlain to see how they are doing in the wake of this week's news from Riderville?
--The L-P's Rob Vanstone makes a very great (R)observation. The Riders do not employ a quarterback coach, yet they have a running back coach and the running back hardly runs the ball. I don't see a QB's coach being added this year, but I do next. Khari Jones value in the 2013 season mentoring Darian Durant was huge. Can anyone say Kevin Glenn?
--We are now less than one week from the start of the NFL season. WOOHOO!!!
--Congrats to all members of the 2015 class going into the Regina Sports Hall of Fame next month. Once the class had been named, I immediately e-mailed Vanstone and asked "the rumpled scribe" when and what it will take to get Principal Richard Pound (John Cozman) in the hall. He would be a tremendous addition and those who follow the independent wrestling circuit would agree. His schtick was outstanding and is still missed today.
--The Regina Pats started the pre-season with a game against Calgary on Thursday night at the Co-Operators Centre. The start of the regular season is just a couple of weeks away and after a year last season where they re-captured the imagination of the hockey community, they have done absolutely nothing when it comes to an ad campaign for season tickets. Does anyone see a Pats logo anywhere around town outside Evraz Place? Fans aren't going to come into the building through word of mouth and while I don't know what the end results of this team is going to be, when you have the likes of Wapple, Zborovsky, Steel, Leschyshyn and Wagner doing their thing, it will be an entertaining product. You might want to promote it because the big flashy scoreboard is no longer a drawing card!
--Sadly "Deflategate" is not over as the NFL was quick to appeal the lifting of Tom Brady's suspension. Will this stupid story ever end? Roger Goodell has embarrassed himself and the NFL with his witch-hunt in this case and it has to stop. I still think Brady knew exactly what was going on, but I also think he isn't the only guy to do this and it takes nothing away from what he has done in the past.
--Connor MacDavid spoke with NHL.com this week as teams start getting ready for training camp which will begin soon. McDavid was asked if he has spoken to head coach Todd McLellan about expectations and what role is expected of him. His answer "That is getting a little ahead of the game. I haven't even been to training camp yet. I'm kind of taking it one step at a time. I just want to have a good training camp and prove to the staff and my teammates that I am a player who competes, works hard and does all the right stuff. Connor, I think you will be just fine.
--Finally, another tip of the hat to Rider Nation. Labour Day games are usually a big draw, but with the team at 0-9, it wouldn't have surprised me to hear there was no sellout this year and why would Winnipeggers want to travel to see that team. This team has been through a lot this year and the first half of the season certainly tore at the fabric that is Rider Nation, but once again they are coming through for what will be the 2nd last Labour Day game at the old Mosaic Stadium. With rain in the forecast, I hope everyone is in their seat at kickoff and it appears as if the Riders are going to have one of those card stunts to "BRING EM OUT".
--Have a great Labour Day weekend everyone! GO RIDERS!