Jock Sanders is making a name for himself on the Canadian gridiron. Sanders signed with the B.C. Lions near the end of last season, but went to Saskatchewan when they offered him a better contract during the offseason.
After missing the first few weeks of this CFL season for the Saskatchewan Roughriders with a leg injury, the Mountaineer has done everything he can to get on the field and get the ball in his hands.
“That’s how I’m going to make a living,’’ Sanders said. “Basically, that’s my career.
“I try not to limit myself to being in one position. I’m just not a receiver. I’m not just a back. I have outs, instead of just being stationary.’’
For the Roughriders, Sanders lines up in the backfield and in the slot and as a wideout. He also returns kicks. Anything to help the team.
The field in the CFL is wider and longer. The wider field means it is more difficult to break a run outside. We remember the days of Sanders catching a pass on the outside and then breaking open a huge run.
Noel Devine is similar in stature and speed to Sanders. He has had some difficulty adapting to the CFL field.
““It caused me some difficulties,” Devine said a few weeks ago, “because I like to outrun defenders on the outside. However, I found it better to run in the center of the field if there is an opening. The best way to use my speed is to run in a straight line. “
Roughriders head coach Corey Chamblin has plans for Sanders as he continues to adapt to a new style of play.
“We have to put the ball in our playmakers’ hands, and we have a number of them,’’ Chamblin said. “The biggest thing is you don’t want to have too many guys sitting around waiting on it. He’s a guy who can make things happen. The more comfortable he gets in the offence, the more I think we’ll see him with the ball.’’
“That was the biggest thing when we brought him in,’’ Chamblin said. “We wanted that type of guy. We think he’s doing that. We have a wish and a demand for him to do it, but there’s still a learning curve for him. We don’t want to give him too much and rush him too soon. He’s a guy who we’d like to grow into that position.’’
So far this season, Sanders has 5 receptions for 37 yards, 1 carry for 28 yards, averages almost 10 yards per punt return and 22 per kick return. He caught the first two passes in last week’s game for the Roughriders.
He also scored his first touchdown on July 28 on a throw from Darian Durant.
“It felt good to get my first CFL touchdown under my belt,’’ Sanders said. “Now it’s uphill from here.’’
Sanders will take the field next on Sunday against his old team, the B.C. Lions.