THE CANADIAN PRESS
REGINA -- As their traditional home-and-home series approaches, the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers find themselves heading in opposite directions.
With the Labour Day Classic at Mosaic Stadium on Sunday, followed by the Banjo Bowl in Winnipeg the following weekend, the Blue Bombers will be hoping to get on track and the Roughriders are looking to solidify their hold on first place.
Rest assured, the Riders, who are in position to start a season 8-1 for the first time in franchise history, are not taking the Bombers lightly.
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"I'm real pleased with the way the team practised this week,'' said head coach Corey Chamblin, adding that his players are taking their rivals "a hundred per cent seriously.''
Saskatchewan defensive tackle Tearrius George agrees with Chamblin that this year's Roughriders have exhibited maturity and confidence, citing back-to-back victories in which the team has had to come from behind against the Montreal Alouettes and Edmonton Eskimos.
"The last couple of games we've played, we had our backs against the wall and come out wins at the end,'' George said.
Starting at quarterback for the Bombers will be Justin Goltz, who lacks experience but is now working with a new offensive coordinator, Marcel Bellefeuille, the replacement for the fired Gary Crowton.
"I like what Coach Bellefeuille is doing,'' Goltz said. "He has really helped clear some stuff up. I really like stepping up to the line of scrimmage and having a process, having clear cut keys and directions to go with the football.''
Saskatchewan linebacker Renauld Williams says whoever happens to be at quarterback for the Bombers can expect to be staring at defence that will be "flying around'' and applying great pressure.
"We also have a lot of different looks we can give a quarterback,'' Williams said. "We've been harping all week on just doing your job.''
The fact that the Riders will be in hot pursuit comes as no surprise to Goltz.
"I expect them to come after us, both the fans and the team,'' he said.
A sellout crowd of 45,000 is anticipated for the Labour Day Classic.
"It's not only a big crowd, it's a knowledgeable crowd,'' said Saskatchewan quarterbacks coach Khari Jones. "They know when to be quiet and when to be loud, to help our team.''
Added Roughrider centre Dominic Picard: "The 13th man will be there, absolutely.''