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August 5, 2003

GIBSON IN CAMP, READY TO PLAY Aug. 5/03

By KEVIN CLIVE
Riderville.com editor

With a serious knee injury to defensive lineman Rob Stewart, the Saskatchewan Roughriders were in serious need of a backup to starter Scott Schultz. Enter Phil Gibson.

The product of Toledo University was originally drafted by the Montreal Alouettes in the third round (18th overall) of the 2001 CFL College Draft.

Head coach Danny Barrett said the Riders were interested in Gibson for some time.

"He’s actually a guy we have been looking at for a while," said Barrett. "He has good size and is relentless, so we were hoping he can do a job for us. It’s unfortunate Rob got banged up because he was beginning to get some playing time and looked good out there. But we have to have a backup to Schultzy and we’re confident Gibson can get it done."

Gibson arrived in Regina Monday night, underwent a physical and practiced with the team Tuesday. He’ll then fly back east with the team Wednesday when it departs for Ottawa.

One player who is particularly excited to have Gibson join the Riders is backup long-snapper Chris Cvetkovic, who grew up with Gibson in Burlington, Ont. and played high school football with him.

"We kept in touch through college and so far in the CFL as well," said Cvetkovic. "It’s the Burlington boys back together again. Phil is a great guy and a heck of a ball player, so I believe coach Barrett when he says they had their eye on him for a while."

Canadian d-lineman Phil Gibson talks about his whirlwind trip to get here. August 5/03

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After three games without any roster changes, the Roughrider coaching staff will be making several moves, most notably at receiver. Veteran pass-catcher Travis Moore will sit out this week to recuperate a bruised knee and will be replaced by Rocky Henry on the roster.

Barrett said the injury does not look to be serious, but sitting out a week will help Moore be ready for the second half of the season.

"Travis is a competitor and would play every game if we let him, but we think he should at least have it looked at and then take the time off here before our game on the 17th," said Barrett.

Another change of personnel this week – besides the aforementioned switch of Gibson in for Stewart – also comes at the defensive line spot, where big Nate Davis will be out and Marcus Adams is in. Davis is nicked up and Barrett said he wants the big man for the entire season, so the move is more for precautionary reasons.

"Nate takes a beating inside even when he’s the one beating up the other guys," said Barrett. "He is a key to what we want to do defensively up front, so we don’t want to lose him for any long period of time. We come back on Friday and don’t play for 10 days so the rest will do him good."

Defensive back LaDouphyous McCalla is also a scratch this week and will be replaced by Jabir Walker. McCalla, who will miss his first game as a Roughrider, is slowed by a strained hamstring. Walker has played this season already, so Barrett is confident the youngster can fill in accordingly.

Offensive lineman Tango McCauley is also going to be out this week as starter Donald Heaven is ready to return from an ankle injury. All total, the Roughriders are making five roster moves, compared to zero the last couple of weeks.

Head coach Danny Barrett announces Thursday’s roster changes. Aug 5/03

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Linebacker and special teams player Mike McCullough has a total of 64 tickets ready to divvy out to friends and family this week in Ottawa. The Riders’ third round draft pick this year out of St. Francis Xavier grew up in Kingston, and is very excited about playing close to home.

"A lot of people are driving up to come to the game," he said. "They came to Toronto too for the season opener, but I have more people coming to Ottawa. I’ve been bugging (Communications Coordinator) Ryan (Whippler) for a month now because I knew I would need as many tickets as I could get."