The Saskatchewan Roughriders will be missing a key piece in the middle of their offensive line this week with Dan Clark heading to the six-game injured list.

Head coach Chris Jones said they have some options to fill that hole.

“We’ve got (Dariusz) Bladek; we’ve got (Brendon) LaBatte, who can slide over; so we’ve got some options,” said Jones.

This week in practice, the Riders have went with LaBatte at centre and then Derrick Dennis moving to left guard and Bruce Campbell jumping in at left tackle. That would cause some issues in the ratio with three international offensive linemen starting.  Jones said they’re much better prepared to do that this year than they were last season.

“We can make up for it either on the defensive side of the football or receiver, we’ve set our team up to do that,” he said.

“We’ve got Kienan LaFrance that can hop in there and play some tailback, we’ve got Rob Bagg that can play multiple positions at receiver and we picked up (Devon) Bailey a couple of weeks ago, so that offers some flexibility, so we’ve got a lot of options.”

The Riders are coming off a 30-15 loss to the B-C Lions in Vancouver last week and now they'll try to redeem themselves with a rematch this Sunday at Mosaic Stadium.

The Riders may have to contend with Jonathan Jennings returning at quarterback for the Lions.

Jones said he brings a couple of more weapons to the quarterback spot, “He’s a little more vertical thrower (than Travis Lulay), he’s able to throw it the length of the field, he has a tremendous arm. Certainly Travis brings the element of moving around in the pocket just like he does.”

Saskatchewan has lost five straight games against the West Division dating back to last season, including losses to Winnipeg, Calgary and B.C. so far this season.

“A lot of people are struggling against Calgary and a lot of people have struggled against Edmonton, they’re undefeated, and a lot of people have struggled against B.C,” said Jones. “We’re trying to get to that level where we can run the ball effectively, protect the quarterback and play better defence (to compete in the West Division).”

The Riders and Lions square off on Sunday at 6 p.m. at Mosaic Stadium.

 

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