‘It’s really hard to win a game of football’: Avery Williams confident Redblacks can bounce back

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When Avery Williams speaks, his teammates listen; there is respect not just for the intensity he brings to the football pitch, but for the wisdom that comes with his words.

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In his fourth year with the Reds and Blacks, the center linebacker says there are few obstacles preventing his team from succeeding. Although they are 0-3 in this young CFL season (with 19-17 and 19-12 losses to Winnipeg and 34-31 to British Columbia), the Rouge et Noir, says Williams , need to focus on things to fix. It may be as simple as that.

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“It’s really hard to win a game of football, especially a game of professional football,” Williams said after the team’s practice at TD Place on Monday.

“We can see there are easy things we can fix. Like the short-range game (against BC, when quarterback Nathan Rourke bounced left and ran down the sideline for a 50-yard touchdown) where we had no one on the edge . Or when I let that touchdown in with the running back (James Butler), I didn’t follow; I missed this game. These are easy fixes. You fix it. And when we do, we will win football games. The fewer mistakes we make, the better off we are going to be and the momentum is going to happen.

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“When things are going well, you can’t see things going wrong. When things go wrong, you can see the things going wrong, all of them.

Although the loss to the Lions hurt, the reality is that every loss stings. Also. The Rouge et Noir are eager to return to competition on Friday in Regina. It’s going to be a tough challenge. The Roughriders are 3-1. After rebounding 37-13 in Montreal on June 23, the Riders gave the Alouettes a crushing 41-20 victory on Saturday. It’s always difficult to get into Mosaic Stadium. To try and replicate the atmosphere, the Redblacks pumped crowd noise into TD Place during Monday’s practice.

“It’s always a good atmosphere when you come to a stadium like that and get the chance to knock down a team like that, it’s going to be fun,” Williams said.

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“I’m talking to the players to try to make sure we’re focusing on one game a week,” Rouge et Noir head coach/offensive coordinator Paul LaPolice said. “This is your preparation for the week. We talked about that today – you’re playing a team on the road that has a big fan base and plays a physical game. We should be motivated to go compete against a crew like that.

The Rougenoirs have found themselves stuck in a huge rut each of the past two seasons. In 2019, they were 3-15 despite winning the first two games of the season. In 2021, they finished 3-11 after opening with a win. It just looks different in 2022. And it’s more than obvious – huge off-season roster turnover.

“I don’t want to knock anyone from the previous teams, but this team is great; it’s competitive,” Williams said. .

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There is, of course, the fact that the CFL’s East Division teams did not fare well early in the season against the West. Including Monday night’s Toronto-Winnipeg game (the Argos lost by one after missing a last-minute convert), Eastern teams have won just one of 12 games against Eastern opponents. West. This means that there is always a traffic jam at the top in the East. Toronto and Montreal each have one win, while Ottawa and Hamilton are winless. That leaves the Redblacks with just one win in a tie for first place. So there is that.

“That’s the beautiful part of professional football; it doesn’t matter how many games you lose, as long as you have a better record than the other guys,” Williams said.

Asked about his role with the Redblacks – particularly in times of adversity – LaPolice said: “A leader’s job is to find reality and always provide hope. It doesn’t change who we are if we have a win, it doesn’t change who we are if we don’t have a win. We have to be focused this week to play our best game against the Riders and not worry about other things because that’s in the past. We play 18 one-game weeks; I try to spend my time making sure that’s the message.

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So many questions. Are the players rushing, maybe not playing cowardly, coming to a point where they fear making a mistake and that mistake contributes to another loss?

“I hope they don’t think about the past,” LaPolice said. “It shouldn’t be, ‘I’m not going to play on this ball because we’ve lost a few games.’ We don’t think so. You think about what your keys are and you have to make a play on the ball.

THE END AROUND

Linebacker Frankie Griffin (hamstring), who left the game against BC on Thursday, could be out for a long time. Troy Young and Adam Auclair will have the opportunity to intervene… Money Hunter (knee) and Patrick Levels (calf) missed practice on Monday. LaPolice expects both to play this week…RB Jackson Bennett (quadriceps) and OL Dino Boyd (foot) were full participants in training after missing last week’s game…Sunday the Redblacks announced they had signed 6-foot-3 QB Breylin Smith. Smith was invited to mini-camps for the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets this year. In 2020, he started eight games for Central Arkansas, passing for 1,861 yards and 19 touchdowns…Runners QB Cody Fajardo took a knee hit against the Als last week, but he finished the game – with a little lameness – and is expected to face Ottawa… Saskatchewan acquired WR/KR Mario Alford from the Alouettes for a sixth-round draft pick.

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