Tristan Jackson hopes to boost Saskatchewan Roughriders special teams

June 7, 2011 - 5:20pm
Photo of Tristan Jackson (#38) talking to Coach Richie Hall on June 7th, 2011 Main Camp Day 11 - Luca Congi gets the birthday pie treatment Main Camp Day 11 - Terrence Nunn tries to move around linebacker Mike McCullough Main Camp Day 11 - Jamal Smith makes a tremendous sideline grab Main Camp Day 11 - Chris Leak launches a TD pass to Efrem Hill Main Camp Day 11 - Weston Dressler and Tristan Jackson race for bragging rights Main Camp Day 10 - Tad Kornegay and Eddie Russ provide tight coverage Main Camp Day 10 - Players look on as Patrick Neufeld battles Calvin Fance Main Camp Day 10 - Another day, another leaping catch by Terrence Nunn Main Camp Day 10 - Stu Foord hauls in a pass along the sideline Main Camp Day 10 - Coach Craig Dickenson runs with his kickers Main Camp Day 10 - Ryan Dinwiddie gets ready to unload over Montez Murphy Main Camp Day 9 - Jake Harfman kicks off with Greg Marshall looking on Main Camp Day 9 - Mark Jones hauls in a pass from Chris Leak Main Camp Day 9 - Jeremiah Weatherspoon leaps for the ball on short kicks Main Camp Day 9 - Keith Shologan knocks ball out of bounds during drill Main Camp Day 9 - Chris Getzlaf lets one get through his hands Main Camp Day 9 - The defensive line looks to stop the run Main Camp Day 8 - Ernie Wheelwright hauls in pass over Tristan Jackson Main Camp Day 8 - Patrick Brown gets low for a catch Main Camp Day 8 - DB Tristan Jackson (#38) breaks up the play Main Camp Day 8 - ST Coach Craig Dickenson gets involved during drill Main Camp Day 8 - QB Cole Bergquist runs up field Main Camp Day 8 - OL Alex Gauthier eliminates DE Calvin Fance from play Main Camp Day 6 - Greg Marshall addresses the team after practice Main Camp Day 6 - Cary Koch tries to haul one in with John Eubanks covering Main Camp Day 6 - Another snag by new receiver Terrence Nunn Main Camp Day 6 - ST Coach Craig Dickenson keeps an eye on field goals Main Camp Day 6 - STU!!!!! Foord finds the crack in the defence Main Camp Day 6 - Darian Durant and the other QBs warming up Main Camp Day 5 - Ryan Lucas leaps to try to block a field goal Main Camp Day 5 - Chris Leak turns up field after no one is open down field Main Camp Day 5 - Chris Getzlaf with a catch and moves upfield Main Camp Day 5 - The injuries mount as camp continues Main Camp Day 5 - Luca Congi continues to rehab during training camp Main Camp Day 4 - Jamal Smith gets in front of Nick Graham during 1 on 1s Main Camp Day 4 - Jordan Sisco with the catch over the middle Main Camp Day 4 - Daryl Townsend slams into tackle dummy during drill Main Camp Day 4 - Ernie Wheelwright almost makes a leaping catch Main Camp Day 4 - Darian Durant throws a perfect touchdown pass to Terrence Nunn Main Camp Day 4 - Lance Frazier does pushups after dropping interception Main Camp Day 3 - Ryan Dinwiddie gets the ball away under pressure Main Camp Day 3 - Dominic Bolden had it, but dropped it in the rain Main Camp Day 3 - Hugh Charles finds the corner after the hand off Main Camp Day 3 - Justin Glover (#62) engages Johnathon Smith Main Camp Day 3 - Darian Durant's playaction fools defence as he runs by Main Camp Day 3 - Efrem Hill found himself all alone for the score Main Camp Day 2 - Terrence Nunn makes another impressive catch Main Camp Day 2 - Jason Clermont makes a catch in front of Byron Bullock (#5) Main Camp Day 2 - Hugh Charles (#21) tries to get by Mike McCullough Main Camp Day 2 - Dominic Bolden works on blocking punts during special teams dr Main Camp Day 2 - Cary Koch tries to hold his block Main Camp Day 2 - Brent Hawkins (90) and Dario Romero (94) try to get to Darian Main Camp Day 2 - Brandon West (9) fumbles after a reception Main Camp Day 1 - Jason Clermont gets open in front of rookie Courtney Bryan Main Camp Day 1 - Veterans Cary Koch (#84) and Sean Lucas battle down field Main Camp Day 1 - Receiver Aaron Fairooz' start to camp ends early Main Camp Day 1 - Weston Dressler hauls in a pass from Darian Durant Main Camp Day 1 - Roughrider brass looks on as a ball sails over Weston Dressler Main Camp Day 1 - Shomari Williams gets pushed to the ground by Josh Buttrill Rookie Camp Day 3 - #43 Courtney Bryan runs back an interception Rookie Camp Day 3 - Ludovic Kashindi and Terrence Nunn battle it out Rookie Camp Day 3 - #92 Calvin Fance and #53 Patrick Neufeld go head to head Rookie Camp Day 3 - Kolten Soloman makes a catch in front of Ludovic Kashindi Rookie Camp Day 3 - #75 Peter Thiel gets hand up on Josh Buttrill Rookie Camp Day 3 - #76 Zach Evans gets outside of #61 Devin Tyler in one on one Rookie Camp Day 2 - Receiver Patrick Brown makes the adjustment for catch Rookie Camp Day 2 - Receiver Terrence Nunn makes one of his several catches Rookie Camp Day 2 - The offensive and defensive lines go head to head. Rookie Camp Day 2 - Running back Brandon West makes a burst through the line. Rookie Camp Day 2 - 12th overall draft pick Craig Butler makes play of the day Rookie Camp Day 1 - Defensive end Courtney Harris working drills Rookie Camp Day 1 - Christopher Milo works on punting with ST Coach Dickenson Rookie Camp Day 1 - Brandon West takes a handoff from Quarterback Chris Leak Rookie Camp Day 1 - Defensive Coordinator explains positioning to LB J. Smith Rookie Camp Day 1 - The first day on the field as Head Coach for Greg Marshall Rookie Camp Day 1 - Ernie Wheelwright makes a nice one handed catch in drills
Photo of Tristan Jackson (#38) talking to Coach Richie Hall on June 7th, 2011
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The Saskatchewan Roughriders are still looking for a kick returner. The one problem for the team is the search is going into its fourth season. Not since Jason Armstead in 2007 have the Roughriders been able to celebrate a touchdown return. In that time, there have been 36 touchdowns scored by punt, kick and missed field goal returns in the Canadian Football League.

Four of those touchdowns have come from Tristan Jackson, who was acquired from the Eskimos in the off-season. He's hoping to change the trend, "I'm here hoping to be a great impact and get them over that hump. They've been to the last two Grey Cups and lost so I want to be that spark to get them back there and win."

Jackson enters camp as the favourite to return kicks for the Saskatchewan Roughriders but the competition is fierce. The Roughriders have between six to eight players at any one time handling return duties. Dominic Bolden, Patrick Brown, Weston Dressler, Brandon West, Hugh Charles, John Eubanks and Efrem Hill have all joined Jackson looking to win a spot as the Roughriders return man.

"(The job) is pretty wide open," describes Special Teams Coach Craig Dickenson, "Competition is going to be the theme (of this training camp) and we hope to find the best players through competition so we'll give everybody a fair shot at it and we'll go with the guy who has competed the best."

While the success of the return game, or lack thereof, in Saskatchewan has always been graded on the returners stats at the end of the day, there are 11 other players on the field that are also vital for the team to be able to 'flip the field' in the return game.

"(The blockers) are the most important players in the return, if you have no blockers, you have no return." Jackson told News Talk Radio after the third day of camp.

On day four, the Roughriders are going to spend the second half of their day working on special teams. The team will do the same on Sunday. Those two workouts will be vital for the team to evaluate what players can fill out their roster because of, not only their positional play, but their special team abilities as well.

"One of the things that we talked about as a staff was that we didn't want to leave our evaluations, as far as special teams went, to the two exhibition games," explained Head Coach Greg Marshall, "You could go into a game and all of a sudden there are only three or four punts and you're trying to make a decision on guys and they've only gotten a couple of snaps, so we've structured practice to put some competitive special teams situations in so we can do some evaluating in training camp."

Already the 2011 Saskatchewan Roughriders have established a new way to handle the third phase of the game but the proof will have to come when they step on the field for the first time in pre-season when they take on the Edmonton Eskimos on June 17th at Mosaic Stadium.