Edmonton Eskimos receiver Cary Koch is really hoping his teammates put the boots to the men in his wedding party come Sunday in Regina.
Saskatchewan receivers Weston Dressler and Chris Getzlaf were among the Roughriders players in Louisiana earlier this year for Koch’s wedding.
Now, those same two receivers hope to torch the Eskimos the way they did in Saskatchewan’s 43-16 dismantling of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last Friday.
Koch said until Sunday’s game at Mosaic Stadium, it’s communications blackout.
“We haven’t even texted this week. We haven’t even talked this week,” Koch said Thursday.
“We’re friends – but not this week.”
Koch played for the Riders for two seasons before signing with Edmonton as a free agent in February.
Dressler and Getzlaf are expected to be the biggest challenge facing the Esks, who are coming off a 19-15 opening-weekend win over the Toronto Argonauts.
Against Hamilton, Dressler made 13 catches for 180 yards and three touchdowns. Getzlaf caught three balls for 96 yards and a touchdown.
Edmonton head coach Kavis Reed called Dressler and Getzlaf “Batman and Robin” (Dressler being the Dark Knight).
Riddle me this then, Reed was asked Thursday, how do you stop Dressler and Getzlaf?
“We saw the No. 7 guy [Dressler] make a lot of plays behind the line [of scrimmage],” Reed said.
“They ran a lot of rub routes, a lot of pick routes for Weston and we have to have a contingency for that.”
Koch said Edmonton may have to sub out a linebacker to add an extra defensive back to handle Dressler.
“Schematically, you just can’t play three true linebackers on the receivers they have. It’s not going to work,” he said. “You’re going to have to have a dime [extra defensive back], just someone who can cover Dressler.”
Eskimos cornerback Joe Burnett said Hamilton played a lot of man coverage on Dressler, trying – and struggling – to bump him at the line of scrimmage.
“They weren’t able to disrupt the timing of his routes at all,” Burnett said. “They were a probably a little bit too aggressive. He was using his hands, his technique, to get around that and get open.”
Burnett said one solution might be the trail technique, in which the cornerback plays a bit off the receiver, giving the illusion that the receiver is open, then closing quickly if the pass is thrown his way.
It’s a high-risk strategy that requires speed, not to mention backup help from a defensive back further downfield.
“Play the trail technique with someone over the top, and maybe that will work,” Burnett said.
The Eskimos defence won’t lack for confidence after last Saturday’s victory.
The defensive line swarmed, sacked, and hurried Toronto quarterback Ricky Ray, holding Ray to one touchdown pass and running back Cory Boyd to 48 yards on eight carries.
Eskimo linebacker J.C. Sherritt was named defensive player of the week for his 11 tackles.
Sherritt credited his defensive linemen for dominating the game, forcing the Argos to double team them and leaving backs like Boyd with no help once they got past the line of scrimmage.
“There was no [blocker] to get up to me, and that’s a linebacker’s dream,” Sherritt said.
Notes: The Eskimos are wearing their green helmets in Riderville. If the Riders wear their traditional green instead of the white helmets they wore in Hamilton, that’s a lot of simialr-coloured headgear on a green playing field. Edmonton quarterback Steven Jyles said green on green can be a bit distracting, but won’t make a difference. “At times when you’re dropping back, the only thing you can see is the top of the guys’ helmets,” he said with a laugh. “You just have to trust the right guys will be there at the right time.”