Here we go again! It was all systems go for the Saskatchewan Roughriders as they opened 2010 training camp Sunday morning under sunny skies at Mosaic Stadium.
When we last left you in November, the Green & White were dealing with the devastation of a last-play loss in the 2009 Grey Cup, a 28-27 defeat at the hands of the Montreal Alouettes. A "too many men" penalty allowed the Als a second chance at a game-winning field goal which kicker Damon Duval nailed from 33-yards out with no time left.
Needless to say the outcome serves as motivation for the squad as they begin the road to redemption in this year's Grey Cup in Edmonton.
"I think about it at least twice a day, every day," said Riders' centre Jeremy O'Day who's entering his 14th CFL season. "And I'm sure all my teammates are the same. It will be in the back or our minds every day we hit the field this year."
Head coach Ken Miller returns for a third year on the sidelines, having been named a Coach of the Year finalist in each of his first two seasons. He too was crestfallen by the Grey Cup loss, but prefers to look ahead.
"We'll never get over it, but we must get past it," Miller stated prior to training camp.
The Riders were hit hard in the off-season by player defections particularly on defense. Defensive ends Stevie Baggs and John Chick and linebacker Renauld Williams all signed with NFL teams while star defensive back Eddie Davis retired. However the Riders were the undisputed winners on the free agent market landing kick returner Domique Dorsey, offensive tackle Dan Goodspeed and linebacker Barrin Simpson.
New GM Brendan Taman pulled off some dandy trades as well, acquring 6'5" wide receiver Prechae Rodriguez from Hamilton and the first overall pick in the draft from Toronto. They promptly selected the best player available, Queen's linebacker Shomari Williams.
The Rider Nation is brimming with optimism as we enter the new season. Season ticket sales are at an all-time high at 25,000 while two regular season games are already soldout (July 17 vs Edmonton and the Labour Day Classic). However tickets still remain for this Sunday's preseason game against B.C. and the home-opener, a Canada Day showdown with the Montreal Alouettes.
Las Vegas odds-makers have the Riders listed as the preseason favourites out of the west to capture the Grey Cup while CFL observers predict Saskatchewan will have a tough time holding off the Calgary Stampeders. Quarterback Henry Burris' bunch says they are hungrier than ever to get back to the Grey Cup and are still smarting over the fact they failed to beat the Riders in 2009.
Time will tell.
(Rod Pedersen is the Voice of the Riders on 620 CKRM Radio)
|June 29, 2013||Saskatchewan||Edmonton||@ 1:30 PM|