It was an uneventful Wednesday at Riders practice.
The Roughriders worked on plays and drills and the media watched. We also spent time trying to find the sun in order to keep warm. Yep, my self-imposed moratorium on weather and wasps ended after one day. There is actual news on one of the two fronts. You’ll have to read on for that breaking news. Until then, here are the highlights from Wednesday’s workout.
- Head coach and vice president of football operations Ken Miller was asked about the status of contract negotiations between SB Andy Fantuz and the Riders. Miller said he thinks those talks are on hold for the time being. Fantuz is in his option year and has suggested he may play out his option in order to try out with another NFL team in the off-season. We’ll see how things progress, but that’s about it for now.
- There is an in-season battle going on for defensive end between Remond Willis and Shawn Lemon. Only one will play in Saturday’s game against the visiting Toronto Argonauts. Miller said that Lemon started out slowly on Sunday against the Blue Bombers, but played better in the second half. The Riders will continue to evaluate each player and make a decision by game time, if not earlier. I can’t tell who is leading. Sorry.
- MLB Barrin Simpson had the day off again. Miller said it was a chance for the veteran to rest. He should be back on Thursday. RB Wes Cates was back on the field Wednesday after taking a rest day on Tuesday.
- My main for Thursday is about kicker Chris Milo and his rapid improvement as a punter this season. He still has work to do on placekicks, but the Riders feel that will come with time and some adjustments. Milo is surrounded by veterans and he’s learning from them in all aspects of the game. The rookie has had only 23 punts, but he leads the CFL with a net punting average of 39.2 yards. That’s a key stat because it takes into account return yardage. It’s a better indication of how well he’s punting. More on that and more online later and in Thursday’s Leader-Post.
- RB Stu Foord had a late night. The Regina product watched Canada beat a Tonga 25-23 in the Rugby World Cup and the game kicked off around 11 p.m. on Tuesday. Foord is a former rugby player who suited up for two seasons with the Prairie Fire before turning all of his attention to football. There will be more on Foord and his thoughts on rugby and football online later and in the paper on Thursday.
- Jason Clermont usually has great insights. Here are his thoughts on Miller from a CP story written by former Rider beat writer Nick Milokas. “He told us, `I’m asking everyone in this (dressing) room to be a thoroughbred. Thoroughbreds want to run hard all the time, they almost have to be held back. If you need to be whipped, that makes you a donkey or a mule.”
- The wasps were out and totally nasty on Wednesday. One even sunk his stinger into Miller while the head coach was on the sidelines. Miller said it was the first time he has been stung. This year. That goes to show you that I’m not exaggerating when it comes to those pests.
- That’s it for now. Remember to follow me on Twitter @murraylp for updates from practice on the wasps, weather and at times, football.