Saskatchewan Roughriders set to take on Edmonton Eskimos
The Saskatchewan Roughriders square off against the Edmonton Eskimos to kick off the pre-season schedule on Friday night (Kick off at 7:00 on TSN).
Durant will not play
Both teams have decided to rest their starting quarterbacks. Darian Durant and Ricky Ray will sit out of the game and allow the battles for the backup quarterback spots play out at Mosaic Stadium.
"The main thing is to get some mental reps in and watch Edmonton a little bit because those are the guys we're going to open up with," explained Darian Durant after Thursday's walk through.
"I'm anxious to see how the other guys compete. It's been a great competition for the other quarterback spot so I'm excited to see the other guys go at it."
Dinwiddie gets the start
Durant's night off allows the Roughriders to rotate all three quarterbacks into Friday night's game. But based on seniority, last year's backup quarterback, Ryan Dinwiddie, will be the first under centre when the offense takes the field.
"I'm trying to take it like any other game, prepare, and compete like I always do and let it work itself out."
Dinwiddie has been pushed in camp by the other two quarterbacks but the five-year CFL vet feels good about his camp so far, "I think all three quarterbacks are competing and have played well. Each guy has had their bad days but I feel comfortable with my abilities and I think it'll be the same situation as last year."
Dinwiddie will square off against a man who Roughrider fans appreciate as Kerry Joseph, who led the Roughriders to the 2007 Grey Cup Championship, will get the start for the Eskimos.
Battles play out in game action
The backup quarterback spot is not the only battle that will play out on the field on Friday. Head Coach Greg Marshall notes that there are great battles going on in the receiving corps, the running backs, defensive backs and return game.
"We're going to give all those (receivers) an opportunity to play and try to even out the reps as far as which quarterbacks they were playing with and trying to balance things out as much as we could to make it a fair competition."
The receivers will get a bigger opportunity as it's likely many of the veterans like Weston Dressler, Chris Getzlaf and Jason Clermont will see more of the sideline than the huddle against the Eskimos.
Rookie coach equally tested
Marshall is also looking forward to getting to call the shots on the sideline for the first time in his long CFL coaching career. Marshall will be the Head Coach for the first time in the CFL on Friday night and knows there will be some things he'll need to learn and evaluate as things go forward.
But the long time defensive assistant is excited for the opportunity saying he's been calling the game in his head as a coordinator for years in preparation for this moment.
Edited by News Talk Radio's Jamie Nye