Week 1 of the Saskatchewan Roughriders season went according to plan. Darian Durant kicked it into high gear. The defence looked improved from last season and more importantly, they won.
And they won big.
The 43-16 score is significant for one reason; it shows the Roughriders will be competitive in 2012.
But that’s about it.
|Chamblin keeps team humble|
“We have to prepare again for this opponent. Not only that, but we're playing a Western opponent so there's a lot at stake when we step on the field so we'll either humble ourselves or this game will humble us so you have to make the choice."
- Riders head coach Corey Chamblin on his team's Sunday night matchup with the Eskimos.
It is not time to believe the hype that the Roughriders are ready to be a contender for a title in this young CFL season – at least not yet.
Friday night was one game and one game alone in what is going to be a very competitive year in the West Division, especially when all four teams were winners in their season openers.
The Roughriders next test is something they struggled with last season; establishing consistency.
The Riders put two games together and not much more in 2011 as they found a new energy with Ken Miller’s return to the sideline.
They turned back into the pumpkin as the clock hit midnight not too long after those back to back dominant wins on Labour Day and in the Banjo Bowl.
Was Friday just that? The new energy of a team feeling good about their new coach and new direction?
We’ll see. But there is no way that the new coach is going to allow them to feel too good about themselves.
"Like I've told this team we'll never be perfect but we'll always strive for excellence,” quipped Head Coach Corey Chamblin.
“You look across the league and nobody was perfect and if you look across this team it was a big score but no one was perfect. We want these guys to keep moving along and keep getting better every practice."
And practice started this week with numerous drills on things they didn’t perfect in game one. A Jiu Jitsu coach came in to help players practice getting through blocks and press coverage with hand drills. The defence also did tackling drills after missing a few too many for the coach’s liking against the Tiger-Cats.
But don’t blame the team for reading the press clippings. There has been nothing but accolades and admiration flying around Riderville since the game.
While it’s deserved, the team has to keep a level head if they are going achieve the ultimate goal.
And going into Sunday’s game against the rival Eskimos, Chamblin is trying to get the team to put Week 1 behind them.
"Everybody is in first place right now, which means everybody is 0-0. It's just like the beginning of the season again.
“So we have to prepare again for this opponent. Not only that, but we're playing a Western opponent so there's a lot at stake when we step on the field so we'll either humble ourselves or this game will humble us so you have to make the choice."
If there is anyone that you could excuse for allowing his head to get in the clouds is Darian Durant. The quarterback faced a lot of doubters in the off-season and quashed those doubts with the Offensive Player of the Week performance.
But the unquestioned leader of the Riders has clearly put a frustrating 2011 season behind him and is following the coach’s lead and moving one from Week 1.
"We always have to remember that it is one week. You have to bring your 'A' game each and every week in this league so one week is not going to tell the tale. We're going to see where we are in a couple of weeks as an offence."
If the Riders are able to follow the leader, we may be talking about a dominant force as we get a bigger sampling size of this 2012 team.
Jamie Nye bleeds green and is the Roughrider insider for News Talk 980 CJME Regina and News Talk 650 CKOM Saskatoon. All of his Rider coverage can be found at www.GreenZoneFootball.com and you can follow him on Twitter @JamieNye.
|2||Blue Bombers||DE||Mulumba, Andy|
|3||Alouettes via EDM||LB||Edem, Mike|