One of the first things Zach Collaros said about the B.C. Lions this week is that they have to watch out for their defensive front four.
The defensive line, including defensive ends Shawn Lemon and Odell Willis, have been high flying – especially in the latter half of the season – and they’ve been a focus for the offence.
“We understand what those two bring to the table, (Davon) Coleman there in the middle as well as having a heck of a season,” Collaros said Friday.
“As a whole, as a defence, they are a really fun group to watch on film and really good group and they’re going to be tough to play against. We know from playing them earlier in the year and they’ve only gotten better since then,” he said.
The Riders lefts Vancouver with a 24-21 victory over the Lions when the teams last met on Aug.25.
Lemon managed two sacks in that game.
“He’s a very good pass rusher and he knows how to set people up,” offered Riders head coach Chris Jones. “In just about the time you get your feet set on him he’s able to make his little counter move and run around the edge on you and he’s got better speed than people think.”
While Lemon has been a noted pass rusher in the league for a while he really came alive after being traded from Toronto in late July.
Of his 11 sacks this year, ten of them have come since his trade to the Lions and he’s created a strong tandem with Willis, who has ten sacks this season, on the other end.
“They know exactly how to make plays and they make plays behind the line of scrimmage in big moments, big situations,” Jones said.
But on the other side of the ball is the Roughriders offensive line which has allowed the second fewest sacks in the league.
Rookie left tackle Tacoby Cofield said they are ready for what the Lions have to offer.
“We’ve been pretty dialled in on them. They do some different things, present some different issues and problems but as an offensive line unit – we’re problem solvers, that’s what we got to do,” he said.
Cofield said along with studying film and their tendencies he’s zeroed in on his own strengths and weaknesses.
“You can tell they study the other tackles and know what they’re good at. That’s something I’ve tried to focus on personally so that I know myself as opposed to the guy playing against me knowing me better than I know me,” Cofield said.
Games are often won and lost in the trenches and the stakes can’t be higher for the teams going into Saturday’s game.
A win for the Roughriders secures them a home playoff game – while a loss leaves the door open for the Lions to host it instead.
Kick off is at 5 p.m.
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