V.I. Raiders players Fabian Ross

V.I. Raiders players Fabian Ross

V.I. Raiders tackle their problems

The Raiders get back to fundamentals this week at practice as they prepare to host the Langley Rams on Saturday at Caledonia Park.

A missed tackle, said football coach Brian Ridgeway, can turn a regular play into a massive one.

His V.I. Raiders missed too many tackles, and gave up too many massive plays, in last week’s 64-20 loss to the Okanagan Sun.

As a result, the Raiders got back to the fundamentals this week at practice as they prepared to host the undefeated Langley Rams on Saturday (Aug. 23) at Caledonia Park.

“If we can go back to the basics and just get perfect at what we need to work on at the basic level, then we can work up to the more difficult stuff,” said Colton Copp, Raiders linebacker.

Tackling is a football basic, but that doesn’t mean it’s simple. Ridgeway said some of tackling is aptitude, desire and willingness.

“You can’t be scared of contact. If you are, you’ll never be an effective tackler,” said the coach. “But confidence works into that. A couple guys made a few bad busts and I think their confidence was reeling. So when you’re working the fundamentals right, you build up your confidence.”

If guys get in their repetitions during the week and find success on the practice field, Ridgeway said, that translates to the field of play.

Dylan Chapdelaine, V.I. safety, said when a player misses a tackle, he has to stay composed and “come out firing again” on the next play.

“You’ve got to want it more than your opponent. You’ve got to be more physical and come out and hit them hard…” he said. “You have to have the desire, the want and you’ve just got to put your face in there.”

Copp said it’s about heart and effort.

“It’s not that difficult to tackle – it’s who wants it bad,” he said. “If you have it in your mind that you’re going to make that tackle, then it’s going to happen.”

When a player makes a tackle or eludes a tackle, it sometimes looks from the stands as though one guy won that one-on-one battle, but that’s not usually the case.

“You’ve got 12 guys out there…” Copp said. “It’s a brotherhood here and it’s a team sport, so you need all of your 12 guys to help make the tackle or else you aren’t going to win.”

GAME ON … The Raiders and Rams kick off Saturday (Aug. 23) at 4 p.m. at Caledonia Park. Tickets cost $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students and will be available at the gate or in advance at Palladian Developments … For a game preview, please visit www.nanaimobulletin.com/sports on Thursday.