Bob Hughes nailed it.
The legendary Hall of Fame sportswriter, now retired, predicted on our In The Huddle television program last week that the BC Lions would badly want to win their home preseason game against Saskatchewan in the debut of new head coach Mike Benevides.
Did they ever. While the Riders dressed 62 players with over half them being rookies Wednesday night at BC Place, the Lions displayed a veteran crew which played the bulk of the game and pulverized Saskatchewan 44-10 Wednesday night.
It was akin to the bully kicking sand in the weakling's face on the beach.
"They played their dogs and we played our puppies," laughed rookie Rider coach Corey Chamblin the day after the game, showing no apparent concern over the score.
The defending Grey Cup champs were flexing their muscle and sending a message to the rest of the league that they are the early contenders in 2012. They played that game like it was a division final rather than a meaningless encounter in June.
"They did what they had to do and we did what we had to do," Chamblin explained.
The Riders were quietly seething at B.C.'s tactics but would not say so publicly. Look, you never want to get blown out on national television whether it's the Grey Cup or an exhibition game. It just looks bad. The Lions knew the Riders were bringing rookies and were running base offense and defense with no game plan and they exploited that.
However the good news is the Rider braintrust got what they wanted out of it and that was to get a look at all the fresh faces in training camp in game conditions. They also left their key veterans at home and starting quarterback Darian Durant only played three series.
That will change this week when the Calgary Stampeders come to town for the final preseason game for both teams Friday night. They're a tremendous amount of excitement around this one for two reasons: 1) it's the first time the Rider Nation will get to see their team in live game action at home in 2012 and 2) Mosaic Stadium has undergone a $14-million renovation including two massive new scoreboards and endzone theatre seats.
This season is a long, long ways from being over. Heck, it hasn't even started yet. And do you remember how that sand-kicking on the beach story ended? The weakling grows up.