July 10, 2024

Ferland and Fry adjusted on the fly to help Roughriders beat Toronto

Logan Ferland isn’t necessarily tackling a new position when he moves to the far side of the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ offensive line.

He was, after all, a dominant offensive tackle with the Prairie Football Conference’s Regina Thunder before becoming a CFL starter with the Roughriders in 2021.

Most of his time in green and white has been spent at guard, but injuries have necessitated occasional, in-game moves to tackle.

On Thursday, for example, Ferland shifted from right guard to left tackle after Trevor Reid encountered cramping issues. Despite the adjustments, the offensive line performed in robust fashion while helping the Roughriders improve their record to 4-0 by defeating the Toronto Argonauts 30-23 at Mosaic Stadium.

“In my honest opinion, if Logan wanted to play tackle in this league, he definitely could and thrive at it,” Head Coach Corey Mace said.

Mace was quick to dispense credit to all the offensive linemen — Ferland, Reid, centre Peter Godber, left guard Ryan Sceviour, right tackle Jermarcus Hardrick and sixth man Zack Fry — and their position coach, Edwin Harrison.

“It’s a luxury for us to be able to move some bodies around on the offensive line,” Mace said. “Kudos again to those guys for working in multiple spots.

“Coach Harrison has them rolling throughout the week just in case we find ourselves in those situations.

“I’m extremely pleased with how Logan has been playing this season, inside and outside.”

Ferland shifted to tackle on two occasions last season.

On June 24, 2023, he moved to left tackle after an injury to Jerald Hawkins. The Roughriders went on to defeat the host Calgary Stampeders 29-26 in overtime.

When right tackle Colin Kelly was sidelined on Sept. 2, Ferland moved one spot over and again helped Saskatchewan prevail in OT — 32-30 over the visiting Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Factor in the recent Toronto game and the Roughriders have now won all three games in which Ferland has played at tackle.

“The main thing is just getting reps at everything during the week so I am able to make that transition seamlessly,” he said. “Other guys are getting reps at other spots that people might not see, just because there aren’t injuries there.

“It’s just about getting the reps down and making it a lot easier on yourself that way.”

Not to be overlooked are the contributions of the backup offensive lineman. Logan Bandy moved to right guard last season when Ferland was transferred to tackle on short notice.

Zack Fry was called upon to play right guard on Thursday and he, too, performed superbly.

“The sixth man is a very hard spot, because you have to be prepared to go in anywhere, and you’re going in cold,” Ferland said. “You’re not going in ready.

“Sometimes they might only get a couple of plays in so when they all of a sudden go in for a full drive, you’re usually going to see a couple of rough plays to begin with, just as they’re settling in.

“But (Fry) did a great job off the hop. He didn’t have any roughness at all. He came right in and dominated.”

Roughriders quarterback Shea Patterson was sacked only once, and that was before Reid cramped up in the third quarter.

Reid was back at his customary left tackle spot when the Roughriders resumed practising on Tuesday in preparation for Saturday’s road game against the B.C. Lions (7 p.m., TSN, CKRM).

Sceviour is playing left guard in place of Philip Blake, who suffered a leg injury on June 16 against the host Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Blake is on the six-game injured list.

“It says a lot about our offensive line and how well we play together and how well we communicate, where a guy can line up beside a guy he hasn’t played with all week and go in there seamlessly like he belongs there,” Ferland said.

“It’s a shout-out to the coaching and a shout-out to the O-line. We’re just playing five as one.”