HALIFAX — The Toronto Argonauts have arrived in Halifax, N.S. ahead of the matchup against the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Saturday for this year’s Touchdown Atlantic.
Double Blue touched down in Nova Scotia on Friday after spending the week of practice in Toronto. Head coach Ryan Dinwiddie, quarterback Chad Kelly, defensive back Adarius Pickett and offensive lineman Gregor Mackellar talked to the media after arriving.
Dinwiddie spoke about the experience of returning to the Maritimes to play in a second consecutive Touchdown Atlantic after winning last year 30-24 against the Roughriders. Toronto’s head man also talked about Kelly’s performance so far and the matchup against a fierce defensive line.
The Argos’ pivot also echoed his coaches’ feeling about being in Nova Scotia and highlighted the hard work his team has put forth so far to hold an undefeated record going into Week 8. Pickett showed the same focus by stressing that the next game is always the most important, while also noting how excited he is to be out East for TDA.
Finally, Mackellar – who is from Timberlea, N.S. and went to school at St. Francis Xavier University – said it’s a special moment to play in front of friends and family, but doubled down on his teammates’ mentality of focusing on one game at a time.
Here are some highlights of those conversations:
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“The experience coming out here has been amazing. We’ll play Saskatchewan again and just the hype of last year’s game. Hopefully we can build off of that, it was a great environment and we enjoyed coming out here. It’s nice to be involved with the city.”
— Head coach Ryan Dinwiddie on playing in back-to-back Touchdown Atlantic games
“Chad (Kelly) is doing a great job for us. He’s been the offensive leader in our football club, he was voted team captain. He comes in early and leaves late, I almost have to kick him out of office. That translates to wins.”
— Dinwiddie on quarterback Chad Kelly
“This week we got a big challenge. Their front seven is really good, their defensive line is dominating. We will slow them down and we should be right where we need to be, we just have to stay on course, we always say that our goal this week is to get to 1-0. We don’t look at the overall record.”
— Dinwiddie on the matchup against the Roughriders and being undefeated after five weeks
“Yeah, it was good. Obviously being the starter it’s a different mindset, different work ethic, but the mentality has always been to win, and that’s what we’re coming here to do: handle business. We know it’s going to be a great game. We know they’re athletic, they do a lot of different things. Saskatchewan is known for playing hard. It’s gonna be a four-quarter game, and we’ll be ready.
— Quarterback Chad Kelly on returning to TDA this time as a starter and facing a tough Roughriders’ team
“It’s a very good game to be a part of, even more so with the Argos. The whole week in general has a little bit more influence than normal games. They do need to bring a team here. They have a great fan base, it sells out wherever we play it and I think that it would be a great idea for the league.”
— Kelly on how it feels to be a part of TDA and the CFL fan base in Nova Scotia
“I look at it as the next opportunity. We have a good starting point where we are right now but we know it’s a long season, we have to still put in work and see what happens at the end.
“It says we’re a resilient group. It shows that guys put in the work this offseason, guys are still focused. There was no letdown but like I said, it’s still a long season to go, you have to keep on playing well and keep doing whatever we have to do to stay on top.”
— Kelly on if he feels this is a breakout year form him and the Argonauts being 5-0
“Probably about 30 or 40 between friends and family.Pretty excited to have everybody out. Obviously, it’s just a quick drive for them. I know everybody’s excited and that should be a great game atmosphere.
— Offensive lineman Gregor Mackellar on how many friends and family he’s expecting at the game
“I’m really excited to be here. It’s always fun playing in a new place and have the opportunity to come out to play with my teammates.”
— Defensive back Adarius Pickett on being in Halifax for TDA
“Every game you step on the field you want to win. This is the most important game of the season right now, it’s the next game. We never play to lose, we come out trying to get a win, had a great week of practice. We expect to play how we’ve been playing all season.”
— Pickett on expectations for the game on Saturday against the Roughriders
“It’s special to be here in Nova Scotia, going into the same areas to play a game against Saskatchewan. It is really special, but at the end of the day, it’s just a normal week of preparation. Everything should go as planned.”
— Mackellar on what this game means for him and preparing to face Saskatchewan