‘It’s stupid’: Craig Dickenson tells Riders to ‘grow up’ after practice altercation

Photo courtesy: Electric Umbrella/Liam Richards/Saskatchewan Roughriders

The Saskatchewan Roughriders were forced to battle temperatures nearing 30 degrees at practice on Thursday, but it was the heat between a couple of players that drew the ire of head coach Craig Dickenson.

According to CJME’s Britton Gray, left tackle Eric Lofton and defensive tackle Miles Brown found themselves engaged in a passionate verbal spat that lasted upwards of five minutes. While neither player came to blows, their 51-year-old bench boss opposed any suggestion that those types of altercations were a positive sign for the team.

“No, it’s stupid. It’s a distraction. You don’t do it during the game, so you shouldn’t do it during practice,” Dickenson told the Regina media. “I didn’t see it, but we’ve gotta grow up as a team. We’ve got to get to work. We don’t have time to be arguing.”

Some coaches might praise that type of fire coming off a blowout loss to the Alouettes last week, but the man in charge of the Riders isn’t interested in window dressing. Dickenson was critical of his team’s energy in their second practice of the week, seeing a lack of general intensity before the attention-grabbing interaction.

“I didn’t think it was great. Maybe that’s just me, but I think we can do better,” he stressed.

“That was the message at the end, we want to demand perfection from the players and I challenge the players to demand the same thing from their coaches. We’ve got to coach them hard, we’ve got to try to be as good as we can possibly be, and I use the term ‘we can’t be okay with just being okay.’ We’ve got to push and try to get better.”

The Riders have dropped four of their last five games entering Week 11, including a lacklustre 41-12 decision lack week. The road forward isn’t getting any easier, as the team prepares to face the juggernaut B.C. Lions with third-string quarterback Jake Dolegala in the starting role.

The two teams clashed just four weeks ago, with the Lions coming out on top 19-9. The Riders knocked quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. out of that contest early and surrendered just one touchdown, but failed to find the endzone themselves in Mason Fine’s first start.

“That was a frustrating game for sure, but they all are,” Dickenson conceded. “Honestly, I’ve forgotten about the last B.C. game for the most part, other than the scheme and the personnel. We’ll just try to do a little better this time than we did the last time we played.”

The Riders (4-5) will host the Lions (7-2) on Sunday, August 20 at 7:00 p.m. EDT.

J.C. Abbott is a University of British Columbia graduate and high school football coach. He covers the CFL, B.C. Lions, CFL Draft and the three-down league's Global initiative.