With a 1-8 record for the 2022 season, there haven’t been too many reasons to be hopeful for the Ottawa Redblacks. The bad news started early, and has been frequently, and with injuries to Kwaku Boateng in training camp and then Praise Martin-Oguike a couple of weeks later left people wondering how the Redblacks’ pass rush would look, but with the help of veteran Lorenzo Mauldin, the impact has been lessened.
On the campaign, Mauldin already has eight quarterback sacks in just nine games, tied for first in the league with Saskatchewan Roughriders’ rush end Pete Robertson, who has managed the same feat in just six games. Still, Mauldin has already more than doubled his previous high in sacks, and with still half of a season left to play, there’s no telling how many he could end with.
“Coming into a new team, that was all I needed, an opportunity to start,” Mauldin said. “I needed to show what I was capable of. I had my chances with Hamilton, I got in and I made my plays, but it was just about me being on the field. Every time I’m on the field, I gotta make a play. I have to.”
Although Mauldin isn’t the loud rusher like CFL fans have come to know with players like Charleston Hughes, Willie Jefferson, and Shawn Lemon, he has always been confident in what he can bring to a team, he just needed the chance.
“I just know what I’m capable of,” Mauldin said. “I know what I’m able to do when I’m on the field, as long as I can get into somebody’s system and be able to understand and learn it, I can play fast. That’s just what I do. I don’t think about anything, I just play.”
“If I’m able to do it on special teams, if I’m able to do it on defence, or if they want to use me on offence, at the end of the day, as long as I know what I’m doing, the sky is the limit for me.”
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Even though he stands at the top of the league in sacks, Mauldin can’t help but remind himself that he has had better seasons before in his football life. He reminds himself that he still isn’t satisfied, and he wants more.
“Yea, there have been a couple of times in college,” Mauldin said. “My highest sack total in college was 9.5, so that’s what I’m trying to beat now. If I can get into double digits, it would be my first time ever. But I tell everyone all the time, I’m just going to play football. If I get one or if I don’t, at the end of the day, I’m doing what I have to do to help out the defence.”
It hasn’t been easy to have a great season personally while having on one of the worst seasons he has seen for the team as a whole, but Mauldin still comes to practice every day with a positive outlook, trying to find ways he can make an even bigger impact on his team’s chances to win.
“My job here is just to get sacks, make plays on defence, and help out the team in general,” Mauldin said. “I have trust and faith in my guys that were going to turn it around. It’s happening slower than we thought, but I feel like we still have a lot of football to play to be able to turn it around, and we’re going to do it. I just feel it.”
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