Photo Scott Grant /
Photo Scott Grant /

The Riders want to give William Powell a full workload.

“What I prefer is for a workhorse running back,” Saskatchewan head coach Craig Dickenson said.

After seeing an increase in carries from 173 in 2017 to 251 last season, Powell has proven he can handle lots of touches and turn them into production: two straight 1,000-yard rushing campaigns. Powell was targeted by the green and white in free agency, signing a two-year contract with the team viewing him as an every down back.

“He’s got the body and the frame to carry 20 times [per game]. I’d like to see 20 called runs and whether he gets the ball all 20 of those times a lot depends on how the defence reacts,” Dickenson said.

“I’d like to see him get 20 carries, I know that’s probably not going to happen, but I hope to see him at least get 15. Game dependant but we’d like to get him 20 touches, 20 carries a game. it doesn’t happen very often, so I might have shot a little high there on that.”

The Kansas State University product spent the first three seasons of his career with Ottawa rushing for 2,835 yards and 13 touchdowns on 500 carries (5.7-yard-per-carry) while catching 90 balls for 719 yards and four majors. He was an East all-star the last two seasons and won a Grey Cup in 2016 as a member of the Redblacks.

“A lot of it is natural. He’s got great vision. He’s got a really good jump cut. He’s a good back. He hurt us when he was with Ottawa,” Dickenson said.

“If you don’t run very much it means you’re trailing most of the time. You want to see a lot of carries and you want to see them late in the game when you’re trying to grind it out and run the clock down.”