Rookie linebackers stand out on Riders defense
Even though the offense is getting a lot of credit for the Roughriders season opening win over Hamilton, the defense deserves some praise as well.
Coming into the game all the talk was about Tiger-Cats quarterback Henry Burris and receiver Andy Fantuz. Instead, the Riders were able to hold hamilton to only 16 points.
Two players who really stood out for the defence that night were linebackers Tyron Brackenridge and Abraham Kromah.
Brackenridge was thrown into the fire having to cover Fantuz for most of the game.
"They went to Fantuz early," said Brackenridge. "He's a good receiver, he's a big body, he's got good hands."
Fantuz did have some success early in the game, but was pretty much invisible in the second half, thanks in part to Brackenridge's coverage, which also led to an interception late in the first half, when Burris badly under threw a pass.
"I appreciate him throwing that to me," joked Brackenridge. "We don't get much of those, but when you have pressure up front, and your d-line is constantly getting in that quarterbacks face, you never know how the ball could come out."
For Kromah it was his first start as a professional football player, and the Duke product did not disappoint, picking up seven tackles and one sack.
"I felt great out there," said Kromah. "The defense did a great job of making me comfortable in my first start."
Kromah may be starting, but he knows he can't sit back now, with a number of players behind looking to take his job, formerly held by Jerrell Freeman who left for the NFL.
"I feel like there's so much talent on this team, you never know," said Kromah.
Rarely does a football player come out of Duke University, a school known for it's basketball program, but Kromah did enjoy his time there. He does get a little bit of ribbing from Darian Durant, who went to the University of North Carolina, because both schools are part of three in the area that are big basketball rivals.
"I mean, it's all love, Darian is a great guy," said Kromah.
Chris Best is still bothered by his injured foot. He will likely miss this weekend's home opener.
The Riders have brought in a jiu jitsu instructor to help the players with their hand and feet work.
As the Riders work on tackling, Chamblin was actually taking part in the drills too, saying after words he needs to lead by example.