After the Elks were focused on themselves for over three weeks in camp — which included two pre-season games — they now have an opponent they can prepare for.
Elks head coach Chris Jones said the main focus is always going to be on what his team accomplishes. He said you cannot do that without having knowledge of your opponent.
“In order to play fast, you have to have a good idea of who they are as a football team,” Jones said. “You have to know their protections, you have to know their favourite plays, you have to know where they’re kicking the ball and how deep you set your returners.
“There’s a lot of things that go into it, so it’s not like you can just show up and try to do, ‘Just do you.’ You have to know who you’re playing.”
Following Thursday’s practice, Jones was not happy with what he saw on the field from his group.
“We didn’t practise very well,” he said. “Today wasn’t our best day, for sure — for the coaches and players.
“Nobody really brought the level of play that you ultimately need in order to be successful. I’m very disappointed in today’s effort.”
The Elks are a very new team under Jones so the process of gelling as a group will take an undetermined amount of time.
The coach was not happy with the effort of his group after a 37-7 loss to the Calgary Stampeders in their final pre-season game last Friday.
Now the page turns. It will be the starters taking to the field on Saturday against the Lions. Running back James Wilder Jr. said he is starting to feel the butterflies in his stomach.
“Extreme excitement. I’m getting to the point where I’m losing sleep and I’m staring at the ceiling and visualizing plays every night,” he said. “I’m excited and I’m excited showing you (the media) what I got — show my teammates and coaches, and show the city of Edmonton.”