Roughriders leaving veterans behind for pre-season opener
The Saskatchewan Roughriders are playing short-handed when they take on the B.C. Lions Wednesday night in the pre-season opener. A number of veterans are staying in Regina, both due to injury, discipline and coach's decision.
The biggest surprise was defensive end Odell Willis not on the roster for the game. Willis is trying to win over Head Coach Corey Chamblin to be named the opening day starter for the team but his DUI charge in the off-season has dropped him to number two on the depth chart.
However, he won't get to prove himself on the field, Wednesday.
"He's still on his probation right now," explained Chamblin after the team's final practice before the game.
"Until he fills that all out, there's a lot of privileges that he can't have."
The team will also be without their starting guards as Chris Best and Brendon LaBatte are both out with injury. LaBatte was carted off the field on Monday, which is the last thing Chamblin wants to see after making him their big off-season free agent acquisition to help replace Gene Makowsky.
"It was something to do with his Achilles. It's not bad right now. We just didn't want to take it any further because we want to make sure we're healthy as we go through pre-season and head into the regular season."
The Riders will also not see former NFLer Sinorice Moss make his CFL debut. Chamblin says he's nursing a groin injury and there is no point pushing a player to play if they aren't 100 percent.
As for the other players not heading to Vancouver, getting veterans break are Chris Getzlaf, Keith Shologan, Lance Frazier, Mike McCullough, James Patrick, Neal Hughes and Graeme Bell.
Darian Durant will start the game at quarterback but likely only play one or two possessions before handing the reins over to the three quarterbacks competing for the back-up job.
Notes: The Riders released NCAA standout quarterback Colt Brennan after Monday's practice. They will now go forward with J.T. O'Sullivan, Levi Brown and Drew Willy to compete for the back-up spot.
Injuries: WR Dallas Baker (upper body - day to day), OL Chris Best (foot - week to week), DB Macho Harris (hamstring - day to day), RB Nathan Riva (hamstring - day to day), DB TJ Rushing (knee - day to day), DL Renaldo Sagesse (calf - week to week), LB Daniel Sheffield (hip - day to day), OL Brendan Labatte (foot - day to day)