It’s finally Friday and what a week it has been.
The Riders have had five days to prepare for Saturday’s game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. It seems like we’ve covered every angle from so many different ways this week. Still, I find myself writing about Andy Fantuz and his return to Mosaic Stadium. It’s a big deal and I have to wonder what kind of reception he’ll receive.
I figure there will a mixture of cheers and jeers when the Tiger-Cats trot on the field. Cheers for what he had accomplished through seven seasons with the Riders. That shouldn’be overlooked. The jeers will be for the fact he rejected the Roughriders and Rider Nation to return to play in front his home-town fans. I think people underestimate the draw of playing at home. Brendon LaBatte does. As part of my set-up piece for Saturday’s game, I delve into that aspect of today’s game.
With that pre-amble out of the way, here are some of the highlights from Friday’s pre-game festivities.
- The Riders have made five roster moves. On the 46-man roster is SB Terence Jeffers-Harris, WR Taj Smith, DE Chris Ellis, DB Macho Harris and DT Mick Williams. Off is DB Eddie Russ, DB Woodny Turenne, LB Darren Stone, WR Justin Harper and DL David Veikune. Smith will start at wide receiver and Jeffers-Harris is listed among the starting slotbacks. Lots of moves, but head coach Corey Chamblin said it’s just football and they are trying to provide opportunities to see what those guys can do.
- The other new is right tackle Pat Neufeld, who takes over from import Chris Patrick. Basically Patrick is a ratio move to allow the Riders to add all of the imports.
- Nick Graham and Tristan Jackson are listed as the starting cornerback. They were the two starters in the 43-16 season-opening win over the Tiger-Cats. Both lost their jobs – Graham due to his performance and Jackson had a knee injury. Injuries to Turenne and Russ forced the Riders to make the change. Harris, who has battled a tender knee since early in the training camp, may also see time in a rotation at cornerback. I’m very interested to see how Harris performs.
- There are approximately 400 tickets remaining for Saturday’s game. Not sure where they are, but it’s supposed to be a beautiful night for football. Mosaic Stadium might be the best place to watch the game if you’re looking for a way to enjoy a summer night in Saskatchewan.
- Here’s a shoutout to Jon Hamelin and his crew at Inside Green. It’s produced by the Leader-Post and appears before each home game. It’s full of great stuff and the guys are doing amazing work. It’s well worth looking for it among Thursday’s sections if you’re looking for a good read today.
That’s it for now. Loads of pre-game copy coming on. You’ll have to check back online later and in Saturday’s Leader-Post for what we’ve produced.