While the rest of the teams in the CFL were squaring off in their first games of the season, the Roughriders were anxiously waiting at home.
The first week bye meant the green and white wouldn’t face one of the league’s eight other teams until the second week of the season. It also meant that as week two approached, the players and coaches got more and more excited for game day.
For quarterback Darian Durant, it will be his first game back in more than year, but he’s not nervous.
“I’ve just been anxiously awaiting this day for a long time. I’m kind of sad it’s a night game,” he said, explaining he’s going to have to wait all day for kickoff and he’s ready to go.
“All the hard work, the grind that I’ve been through this off season, I’m just ready for it to pay off,” Durant said.
“I’m back to feeling like myself.”
So leave the jitters to the new kids.
Rookie defensive lineman Jonathan Newsome admitted he’ll have a few of them, but it’ll all fade away once the football starts flying.
“Emotions (are) going to be running high and everybody’s going to be excited, but I’m just going to try to remain calm until we kick that ball off and then I’m going to turn it up,” Newsome said, adding the fans do not need to be worried about the all new defensive line. They’re ready.
“We’re going to be a fast, physical defence,” vowed fellow defensive lineman Justin Capicciotti.
Head coach Chris Jones said he’s looking forward to seeing the team play and see where the Roughriders will “stack up” against the rest of the league.
“This is for real. This is our first regular-season game. We’ve talked a good game, now it’s a matter of seeing exactly where we are,” he said.
And while the Toronto Argonauts may not have looked like a formidable opponent last week – when they lost to the Tiger-Cats 42-20 – Jones is not underestimating the boatmen.
“We’ve got to go out and play a solid football game against a very good football team in Toronto,” Jones said. “They didn’t play very well last week, and we’re not the only ones that know that, they know it as well. They’re very well coached and you’ll see a different Toronto team roll in here.”
The game begins at 8 p.m. at Mosaic Stadium. CJME and CKOM’s 10-hour game day coverage begins at 4 p.m. Some tickets are still available.
- Jonathan Newsome has been listed as the starter on defensive end followed by A.C. Leonard and Shawn Lemon. Chris Jones said it is a rotating defensive line and all the players will see some time.
- Rookie Samuel Eguavoen gets the start at linebacker over Jeff Knox Jr., who missed most of camp with an injury.
- Offensive lineman Chris Best was moved to the six-game injured list.
- he Roughriders have come to terms with first overall draft pick Josiah St. John, but he will not play in Thursday’s matchup.