EDMONTON – It’s a disjointed day on the Rider beat.
I was Edmonton this morning to catch the Eskimos for their walk-through to tee up Friday’s game against the Roughriders. The Roughriders conducted their walk-through in Regina before making their official run to Edmonton for the game. It makes for a strange day with two teams in different centres, but here’s what I’ve been able to put together:
- In case you’re wondering, finding a convenient flight from Regina to Edmonton is a challenge. There is one direct flight on West Jet that departs at 3:15 p.m. It takes about 90 minutes from gate to gate, which is pretty sweet. All of the other flights, go through Calgary. For example, the 7 p.m. flight doesn’t land in Edmonton until 11:30 p.m. That’s why I left early on Wednesday and the Riders flew out en masse today at 3:15 p.m.
- Head coach Corey Chamblin, defensive tackle Keith Shologan and receiver Weston Dressler were also on my flight and were made available for interviews with TSN and the local media.
- As expected, the Riders added K Sandro DeAngelis, DB Eddie Russ and DT Jay Alford to the active roster. DB Macho Harris, DE Chris Ellis and DT Zach Evans are off the 46. DeAngelis will handle the placekicking duties, despite being added to the active roster on Monday. Milo will continue to look after punting. It’s not a bad upgrade over Milo, who was 11 for 17 this season in field-goal attempts. DeAngelis is the CFL’s all-time leading in field goal accuracy at 82.8 per cent (minimum) of 250 attempts.
- There are some changes to the Riders’ front four. Odell Willis is listed as a starting defensive end, but expect Tearrius George to start at defensive end. Look for a rotation of Willis, George and Brent Hawkins at defensive end. Inside, Alford, Mick Williams and Keith Shologan will rotate at defensive tackle. The Willis move is partially about his production and about keeping the front six fresh.
- I would expect to see a rotation at right guard. Rookie Ben Heenan should start, but Chris Best will see more playing time. Chamblin wants to ease Best on to the active roster and is afforded that luxury due to the performance of Heenan. Chamblin said that sooner or later they will have to make a decision, but right now it’s a good problem to have.
- The big changes for Edmonton are the addition Devin Tyler at right tackle, Greg Carr at wide receiver and Greg Wojt at right guard. Claude Wroten was added to the roster at defensive tackle on Wednesday and could possibly be on the active roster. Watch for Regina product Peter Thiel to see playing time at fullback. Thiel was a linebacker, but was switched over to fullback during training camp. He’s pumped about making his CFL debut against the Roughriders.
- I’m kind of pumped about the game too. I love covering games at Commonwealth Stadium. It truly is Canada’s best outdoor stadium. The new seats are slowly being installed and there will be a whole different look to the place. The new seats are green and yellow and eventually all of the faded red ones will be replaced.