‘We’d be comfortable dressing three Canadian receivers’: Roughriders agonize over seventh Canadian starter

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders/Electric Umbrella/Liam Richards

The Saskatchewan Roughriders’ coaching staff is burning the candle at both ends trying to figure out who their seventh Canadian starter will be to start the regular season.

Mike Edem at safety is projected to be the only Canadian starter on the defensive side of the football.

Left guard Logan Ferland, centre Dan Clark and right guard Evan Johnson are all Saskatchewan guys penciled in to start along the offensive line. The Green and White are expected to complement those three with a pair of American offensive tackles.

Receiver Kian Schaffer-Baker is expected to be one of Cody Fajardo’s most dangerous weapons on offence and will be joined by slotback Justin McInnis.

The big question remains: who will be the Riders’ seventh Canadian starter? That question lingers following Friday night’s 20-18 preseason finale loss at BC Place. Radio play-by-play broadcaster Michael Ball posed that very question to head coach Craig Dickenson in their postgame interview Friday night and he still wasn’t sure.

“We’d be comfortable dressing three Canadian receivers,” Dickenson said, alluding to the possibility of having Mitchell Picton or rookie first-round CFL Draft pick Samuel Emilus on the field at the same time as Schaffer-Baker and McInnis.

James Tuck is another Canadian starter who will add blocking help at fullback and alternate in and out with the Canadian pass catchers. The bench boss has also hinted at the possibility of that seventh Canadian starter coming by way of the defence with Charbel Dabire up front or in the secondary with Godfrey Onyeka or Nelson Lokombo.

Dickenson and his staff have critical decisions to make with little time before kick-off Saturday night in Week 1 against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the home and season opener at Mosaic Stadium.

Brendan McGuire has covered the CFL since 2006 in radio and print. Based in Regina, he has a front-row view of Rider Nation.