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June 19, 2015

One More Chance to Shine

Many players will run out of the Riders dressing room Friday night with a lot of them hoping to run back in knowing their dreams of being a professional football player can continue.
 
The Green and White will take on the Calgary Stampeders in the final pre-season game for both teams and while the final score doesn’t matter, the performance of players does. A lot of them hope to do those one or two things to impress the coaching staff enough to keep them around for the start of the 2015 CFL season and beyond.
 
“Whenever I have a chance to give a piece of advice, I am more than happy to do so. “Quarterback Darian Durant said. “I’ve gotten close to some of the guys and I just tell them to go out and have fun. It is going to be an energetic atmosphere and I just tell them to play ball and give the crowd something to cheer about. Make plays, play football and make it hard on the coaches to make decisions. Cut down day is going to come regardless, so just go out and have fun.”
Tonight is not a do or die game for Durant, but the North Carolina grad says he still has a lot to play for as he takes the field against the defending Grey Cup champs.
 
“Your situation can change on any day. I take it as if I have something to prove every day because the older I get, the more I realize my time clock is ticking as well when it comes to my career.” Durant told reporters during Thursday’s walk-through. “I want to be a legend, I want to go out and top and that drives me each and every year.  I have internal motivation to be the best player I can be and if I want to make history, I have to work each and every day.”
 
Head Coach Corey Chamblin will have some tough decisions on who stays and who goes, and he also has also some tough decisions when it comes to who his starting 12 will be on both sides of the ball as there are some positional battles yet to be decided.  Running back is one of those spots with Anthony Allen and Jerome Messam battling to determine who will be the starting tailback. Neither really got an extended opportunity to carry the ball against the Eskimos last weekend in Fort McMurray, so Messam doesn’t think anyone has an advantage going into the Stampeders matchup.
 
“I think both of us played pretty well against Edmonton when it comes to the chances we had and the blocking assignments we were given. “Messam stated. “It’s good for us not to be comfortable because it brings the best out of both of us. I’d like to see some more running plays, but we are confident we can run the ball and I think the coaches wanted to see how the passing game was working in that first game so we will see what he has in store for us.”
Chamblin is hoping at the end of the night it means some sleepless nights for his coaches as they make their final decisions.
 
“If our decisions are easy ones at the end of the night, it makes it easy for our opponents,” Chamblin declared. “If it’s tough on us to decide who stays and who goes, it means we have a lot of quality players and a lot of depth and the right amount of quality players to make it tough on our opponents.
 
Kickoff is at 7:30 with 620 CKRM beginning their pre-game coverage at 430 from Pilsner Place with “Rider Nation Pre-Game” before Rod Pedersen and Carm Carteri take over with the play-by-play. You can also watch the game live on riderville.com/riderslive and on the Rider app (available at Apple and Android stores) beginning at 7:30pm.
 
GAME NOTES:
  • John Chick will not play in the game and he won’t even be at the stadium. With the team’s permission, Chick has gone back to the United States where he   will serve as the best man at his brother’s wedding this weekend

  • The last time the Riders played a game at Mosaic Stadium, the quarterbacks were Kerry Joseph, Tino Sunseri and Seth Doege. None of those three are on tonight’s roster. 

  • The first team offence and defence are expected to play the first half with some thought on some players being stretched into the 3rd quarter