The Edmonton Elks began their final full practice week of the season Tuesday as they prepare for the second half of a home-and-home set with the Saskatchewan Roughriders Saturday in Regina.
That will begin an unprecedented road trip in pro football: three games in a total of just seven days.
It starts on Saturday with the a visit to the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Regina, then if off to Toronto to play the Argos on Nov. 16, and the trip concludes on Nov. 19 against the B.C. Lions in Vancouver.
Edmonton Elks head coach Jamie Elizondo on playing the Riders again to start a three-in-seven road trip
Head coach Jamie Elizondo says what the players will be going through on the road trip will be grueling but also memorable.
“We’re about to do something that’s never been done in the history of football.
“They’ll be able to tell their grandkids, ‘We played three games in one week.’ Their grandkids we will say, ‘No, you didn’t.’ They’ll be able to pull out the record book and say, ‘Yeah we did.'”
For some players, there will be excitement about making history. For others, there will be some anxiety.
Defensive coordinator and assistant head coach Noel Thorpe says there’s a range of emotions as the team prepares for the trip.
“There will be a whole gamut of emotions but if you break it down, it’s fine parts and the things we need to focus on,” Thorpe said.
“We need to focus on the Roughriders. We’re going into an environment where there’s some excitement. We’re going to take it one step at a time, go in there and take it one down at time.”
Edmonton Elks defensive coordinator and assistant head coach Noel Thorpe on the D’s performance vs. the Riders on Friday
On the trip there won’t be any on-field practices, only team meetings and the occasional walkthrough.
As the team looks to break a seven-game losing streak Elizondo says the main focus will be to make sure the players are being taken care of as best as possible.
“We have plan for when we land in Toronto where we will have many therapists in place to take care of their bodies and the same goes when we land in B.C.,” Elizondo said.
“We’ve scheduled as much rest as possible and we are bringing our entire team in case of injuries so there are not players flying across the country. It will be a challenge but I think we will be up for the challenge.”
There were several players on Tuesday’s injury report, including receivers Derel Walker, Greg Ellingson, and running back James Wilder Junior who missed last Friday’s game. Only Walker was on the field Tuesday in a limited capacity.
Quarterback Nick Arbuckle’s workload increased Tuesday as he worked with the second team offence. Taylor Cornelius continues to take the starting reps.
The Elks begin their three-game-in-seven-days road trip on Saturday afternoon at Mosaic Stadium in Regina.
Kick-off will be at 2 p.m., 630 CHED will have live coverage starting with Countdown to Kick-off at 12:30 p.m.