June 1, 2023

Rob Vanstone: Ironing out the bugs to conclude Roughriders’ training camp 

Trevor Harris had to contend with bloodsuckers — in the form of mosquitoes and yours truly — after the final walk-through of Coors Light Riders Training Camp. 

Consider the manner in which the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ quarterback fielded a media inquiry as to the nature of the collaboration between himself and Offensive Co-ordinator Kelly Jeffrey. 

“It’s great,” Harris began. “He’s very open to hearing things that we’ve done in the past and maybe concepts these mosquitoes are immortal or little alterations in plays that can maybe make the play a little bit better.” 

As a follow-up, Harris was asked: Are these the worst mosquitoes in the CFL? 

“They’ve got to be, man,” he responded. “They’re huge. You’ve got to stay out of the shade. If you stay in the shade, those things attack.” 


Head Coach Craig Dickenson extended his gratitude to the people of Saskatoon for the treatment the team has received throughout training camp. 

“I love it up here,” he said. “Great meals, the dorms are good, the facilities are nice, and the support is very good. 

“It was really fun getting away from Regina. I think the team bonded up here and we had a very successful camp.” 

Training camp has been based at the University of Saskatchewan to begin three of Dickenson’s four seasons as the head coach. The only exception was in 2021, when the realities of COVID-19 necessitated that camp be held in a carefully controlled environment at Mosaic Stadium. 


How did camp go? 

“Really well,” Dickenson said. “I felt like the guys were tuned-in. We didn’t have a lot of back-and-forth fighting or anything like that. 

“I think the guys were really focused on the task at hand and getting work done.  

“It was one of the best camps I’ve been a part of in all my years of coaching.” 


Shortly after Thursday’s walk-through, the Roughriders flew to Winnipeg, where they are to face the Blue Bombers in a CFL pre-season game on Friday night. 

After that, the Roughriders will fly back to Saskatoon. Once the roster is finalized, the players, coaches and support staff will board Regina-bound buses. 

The Roughriders are to return to the practice field on Wednesday at Mosaic Stadium in preparation for the June 11 regular-season opener against the Edmonton Elks. 

Saskatchewan’s home opener is set for June 16 against Winnipeg (7 p.m., Mosaic Stadium). The game, to be played on the Friday of Father’s Day weekend, has a Dad’s Night Out theme. 


Friday’s game will be the coaches’ final opportunity to evaluate the on-field performances of quarterbacks Mason Fine, Jake Dolegala and Shea Patterson before the final cuts are made on the weekend. 

All three passers are competing for the No. 2 spot, behind Harris. 

“We’ll just let them play evenly, probably,” Dickenson said. “We’ll take Trevor out of the game after a quarter, maybe a quarter and a half, and then we’ll just let the other three play and fight it out. Hopefully they’ll get equal reps, but we’ll just keep our fingers crossed.” 

How much weight will be attached to Friday’s game as opposed to everything Fine, Dolegala and Patterson have done beforehand? 

“It’s 50-50,” Dickenson said. “We grade them on the games, but we have opinions based on practice and the first pre-season game. 

“(Friday’s game) is going to carry a lot of weight. There will be a few guys who make it or break it in this game and there will be a few guys who confirm what we’ve already known.” 


Adam Korsak is to handle all the punting for the Roughriders in Winnipeg on Friday.  

Incumbent punter Kaare Vedvik pulled a quad muscle in practice on Wednesday. Dickenson said the injury is “minor.” 

Vedvik, who is from Stavanger, Norway, has been the Roughriders’ punter since the tail end of the 2021 season. He averaged 44.5 yards per boot in 2022. 

Korsak was chosen third overall by Saskatchewan in the 2023 Global Draft. He is from Melbourne, Australia. 

As a senior at Rutgers last year, Korsak won the Ray Guy Award as the premier punter in NCAA football.