In a move that seemed more and more likely as the week went on, the Roughriders’ star quarterback will be back behind centre for the first time since injuring his ankle against B.C.
Durant practiced with the starters all week, but it wasn’t made official by head coach Chris Jones until Wednesday. First when he was listed at number one on the depth chart, and then in a press conference later on in the day.
“I feel good to be able to get back out there, to help my teammates out,” Durant said Wednesday afternoon.
Durant said he put a lot of thought into whether or not he should play and if he was ready. Earlier in the week, he mentioned the rivalry with Calgary did make him want to get out and play just a little bit more.
“I know my body, I feel like I can help the team. I wouldn’t go out there if I didn’t feel like I would help us or that we would be in a bad position with me being out there,” he said.
“I feel like it’s the right decision … I’m just looking forward to getting out there.”
Another Roughrider looking forward to getting out there is running back Matt Walter, who has spent a lot of time in McMahon Stadium over the years. In fact, he first took to the turf of McMahon at six years old.
Walter also played university there, was with the Stampeders from 2011 to 2015. He joined the Roughriders this off season.
“It’s always exciting going up against my old team, a lot of motivation there,” he said
Walter said he expected there to be some chirping between him and his old teammates all week, but there is nothing but respect still between him and his old teammates and the Stampeders organization as a whole.
“It’s going to be fun getting back on that turf, but my team is green and white now,” Walter said, adding that when the Riders were Calgary, it often felt more like a home game for the green and white than for the Stamps.
“Some games it would be even louder on the Riders side than the Calgary side … That’s pretty cool and I think it sports that’s kind of an anomaly.”
Game time is at 8 p.m. on TSN.
Kendial Lawrence will start at running back in place of an injured Curtis Steele. The Riders released last week’s starter, Michael Dyer on Wednesday.
Dan Clark returns to his starting spot on the offensive line after missing games due to injury.
Otha Foster moves from linebacker to halfback and newcomer Major Culbert goes from halfback to linebacker.
Nik Demski gets the start of Shamawd Chambers, who didn’t practice with the team on Tuesday.