Although they improved to 2-0 in the young season after beating the Edmonton Elks last week, the Saskatchewan Roughriders certainly left Commonwealth Stadium with a dark cloud hanging over them as they lost one of their key pieces in and out. off the pitch with a nasty leg injury.
Any recommendations for the softest sponges for a sponge bath? pic.twitter.com/Om6WRIOUcQ
—Dan Clark (@DanClark67) June 20, 2022
What is the team’s response after losing veteran center Dan Clark entering Week 3 against Montreal?
Interior offensive linemen Logan Ferland and Evan Johnson will flank a new middle man on the line tonight, as Logan Bandy will start at center in place of the injured Clark. Bandy, 23, has dressed as the team’s extra offensive lineman this year having had an impressive training camp following his final year of eligibility with the University of Calgary.
A strong start to the year from each of the teams’ offensive tackles in Terran Vaughn and Na’Ty Rodgers has led to the entire group playing with confidence, something they hoped to foster among their positional peers early on. The friendship (and almost brotherhood) between Ferland and the injured Dan Clark has been well-documented throughout their time together in green and white.
“Last year was my first year spending a lot of time with the guy. I’m sure he said we’re best friends now, and we stay motivated throughout the year,” Ferland said of team captain Clark, in a previous interview, “I think it’s going to build even more this year, and hopefully it spreads through the rest of the offensive line room and we can really create a brotherhood there.”
Losing his partner in crime, Clark, changes things a bit for Ferland, who should be eager to step up after putting in a lot of work during the offseason.
“For me personally, I feel very confident having a year under my belt,” he said, “I know exactly what I need to do and exactly the things I need to focus on to be dominant in this league.” “
Finishing last season as the Roughriders’ leader in attempts played surely helped Ferland’s rapid leap in development. He got all the experience he could get as a rookie in the league, and now he’s back to doing his job once again in Year 2 with the opportunity to once again step up and be a major factor on the offensive line as their leader Clark recovers. .
“Now I’m dialed in with the new contract, focused on the things I needed during the offseason and the playbook. That’s something else, already a year under the Maas system and now this year is going to be so much easier and quickly after knowing the system for a year,” Ferland said.
West Central Online has been enthusiastically watching Ferland’s growth with the Riders, and we actually had the amazing opportunity to speak with Dan Clark himself before the season about what the young player brings to the table.
Both have made a name for themselves after taking the CJFL route as members of the Regina Thunder, as aside from their trash-talking skills, there are plenty of parallels between the two former youth soccer standouts.
These connections have not only led Clark to call himself one of Ferland’s friends, but he is also one of his biggest supporters.
“It’s good to have him in our club. He’s a truly shining example of what it’s like to be a Roughrider from Saskatchewan, and to be from this province,” said Clark, sending high praise to his teammates, “His hard work and dedication is what second. to none, and I don’t think he’s destined to be in the CFL. I think he has bigger and better things in mind.”
Clark has also used his new relationship with Ferland as a kind of self-motivation, showing up every day with the added incentive of keeping his career going thanks to the young man at his side. It will be a little more difficult now thanks to the injury, but training with Ferland this offseason and growing their bond even further has resulted in a new goal for Clark as a football player.
“I told him this offseason, ‘I think my new goal is to outlast you.’ He laughed and I said, ‘I’m glad you don’t think I’m serious. We’ll see what happens.'”
That extra incentive is just what a brave player like Clark needs.
“I wouldn’t be the player I am today, last year, without Logan pushing me. With a young guy behind you, I walk into the building expecting to get cut every day, thinking, ‘What work did I put in today to stay?’ It’s definitely good to have that young man pushing me every day.”
Their friendship is well-documented on the field, but a behind-the-scenes look off the field offers a healthier view. Ferland has made it a postgame tradition of his while at Mosaic Stadium to greet Clark’s family sitting in the front row behind the Riders’ bench, and Clark has been more than happy to meet with Ferland’s family as well.
Having a close teammate like Ferland stick around in the offseason was amazing according to Clark, as they shared being part of the family. It’s always good to have participants ready for a family game night.
“I became really good friends with Ryan and Sara (Ferland), which is amazing. Not a lot of times, unless you’re local, you get to know a lot of people’s families really well, but it’s always really nice to be able to do that. It’s nice that you can call on a Friday night and have games on the house.”
Clark shared that Ferland is already an honorary uncle in their household, as the youngsters never miss an opportunity to say hi, and Ferland appreciates all that the relationship brings to the duo on and off the field.
“It’s hard to find guys to work out with that have the same mindset,” Ferland shared, “He’s got his family, so he’s pretty busy all the time, but still just being able to have that one shoulder to lean on, and vice versa”. Vice versa for him, it’s just huge.”
After playing the final game of the regular season at center last year, there was a chance that Ferland could slip in and replace Clark, but regardless of his role, he, along with the rest of the unit, are only focused on fill the huge void that Clark’s absence has created on the line.
The severity of his injury means Clark has a long way to go to get healthy enough to play football again, but his competitive nature will no doubt lead to his likely goal of playing again. The long-time Roughrider still knows what’s left in his tank, but he’s probably beyond excited to see what his teammates can do in the short time he’s gone. This opportunity could be excellent for Ferland to show specifically.
“He’s a pretty special young man. I don’t think he’s destined to stay in our building. I think he has promising size to go to the NFL, which will be a great thing for him,” Clark praised Ferland, “He’s going to get his rewards when they come, and he will be a mainstay not only for the Roughriders, but for this community if he chooses to stay here.”
Roughriders quarterback Cody Fajardo was asked during a post-practice interview earlier this week about the possibility of veteran Roughrider Brendon LaBatte returning to the team to help fill the big void caused by the injury. from Clark. They are currently undefeated and looking good to start the year, but Saskatchewan could certainly use all the help they can get this season as they try to reach the Gray Cup in Regina at Mosaic Stadium on November 20, 2022.