Mitchell Blair is a local sports reporter and regular contributor to Riderville.
Keith Shologan has seen the kind of support that his football team received at Grey Cups that were played in Edmonton and Calgary. He can’t even imagine what it would be like to see the support his team would receive if they were to be playing in the 101st Grey Cup game at Mosaic Stadium.
“Personally, it would be amazing to play in front of Rider Nation. “ Shologan said during a recent interview. “I know Saskatchewan showed up and made it a home game for us when we played at McMahon Stadium and Commonwealth Stadium, but to walk out onto Mosaic Stadium and see a sea of green on Grey Cup day. It would be great for Regina, the province and our fans nation-wide. I can’t wait to have that opportunity. “
Playing at home on Grey Cup Sunday could certainly be a distraction for the football team this year as the pressure will be there to play in the big game, but the Spruce Grove, Alberta native doesn’t feel as if that pressure will be a distraction. In fact, he believes the position they are in will be a positive in the long run.
“Being in the Grey Cup should be our goal this year. I know you can say that every year, but this year it’s in our hometown, it’s on our field and it’s in our stadium. “Shologan insists. “We need to get into that game and we need to win it. I think it can be a real positive for us and it will be something that we will strive for right from day one of training camp.”
If the Riders are going to get there, they will need another strong year from Shologan. Arguably the best Canadian defensive tackle in the league, Shologan enters his 6th season as a member of the green and white and while he is at the top of his game, he has the mindset that he needs to get better.
“I think if you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse,” Shologan said. “I can become more of a leader and I can push myself harder then hopefully some other guys will jump on board and work just as hard. I will go out there like I have every other year and do what the coaches ask me to do and hopefully we will be able to catch fire and have a great year out there. “
When Shologan does go to camp, he will see some new faces in the room, but he knows those faces are here for a reason and he is excited to see what everyone can do when it comes time to play.
“Our core has stayed the same, but we’ve always had guys coming in and out the last two or three years which is a part of CFL football.” Shologan said. “I really like what management has done in the off-season in bringing in guys on both side of the ball that I think can really help us. They have found guys that are willing to go every play and make an impact on every play. Management noticed when the season was over that some guys just weren’t fitting in and they have gone out and found guys that they think will be able to walk in and give us that push we need to get over the top and become a championship football team. I’m really excited to get things going.”