Roughriders set to host Eskimos in home opener
The Roughriders are hoping to build off their success last week against Hamilton.
Sunday afternoon they will take to the field at Mosaic Stadium for the first time in the regular season as they host the Edmonton Eskimos.
Since that win over the Tiger-Cats the Riders have remained level headed, saying that it's just one week, and there's a lot of work left to be done.
It will be the debut for a number of players at home, but it's also head coach Corey Chamblin's first home game.
"I'm pretty even keeled," said Chamblin. "The biggest thing for me is to make sure for the players just making sure they learn to play at home."
Offensive lineman Brendon LaBatte will take to the field at Mosaic Stadium after his high profile signing in the off season, fulfilling a life long dream.
"It absolutely is, that's why this game requires a little bit more to make sure I stay focused," said Labatte.
Edmonton will present a very different test for the Riders new offensive line, as the Eskimos have one of the best defensive lines in the league.
"We just got to be sharper with our calls," said LaBatte. "We're talking six inches different placement with a foot or a step. Honing in on those little things will bring us together."
LaBatte isn't alone either, fellow Saskatchewanians offensive lineman Ben Heenan and defensive lineman Zach Evans will get to live out their dreams too.
"I was always here cheering on the Riders," said Evans. "Now I'm one of them, I'm really excited."
It's also a first of sorts for receivers coach Jason Tucker, as he's going against the only CFL team he's ever known for the first time.
"Being here it won't be as weird, it will probably weirder when we go to Edmonton," said Tucker.
It's not the first game for quarterback Darian Durant, but it might feel like a new day after looking nothing like the Durant we saw last year against Hamilton. He knows duplicating that success won't be easy.
"They're a great defense," said Durant. "They play together, they fly around, they make it difficult for opposing offenses."
On the other side of the ball, it's a return to Mosaic Stadium for Eskimos quarter back and former Rider Steven Jyles. He knows the offense will have to be better than it was against Toronto.
"Scoring touchdowns, that's the biggest thing," said Jyles. "That's one thing we worked hard at this week, sticking it in the end zone and being more efficient on offense.
Also coming back to Regina as an Eskimo is head coach Kavis Reed. He thinks they're over their struggles offensively.
"First game jitters," said Reed. "I think a lot had made about us struggling to put up touchdowns, and not a lot was made about Toronto struggling to put up touchdowns."
Reed also admitted that they had put a lot of pressure on themselves to win that game, because of the return of Ricky Ray to Edmonton.
The Riders won't be fielding the same team we saw last week, defensive backs Tristan Jackson and Nick Graham have been replaced by Terrell Maze and Woodny Turenne respectively. Jackson won't start because of an injured knee, while Graham appears to be switched out to send him a message.
Kick off is at 5 o'clock, you can also watch the game on TSN.
Before that, be sure to tune in to News Talk Radio at 4 o'clock for a special pre-game edition of our new show The Green Zone.