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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

RIDERS ADD A PAIR

The Saskatchewan Roughriders today announced international wide receiver Korey Williams and international defensive lineman Chancey Aghayere  have joined the teams practice roster. 
 
Williams (6' – 185) will be in his second CFL season after originally entering the league in 2013 with the B.C. Lions. Last season the NorthWest Oklahoma State product registered seven receptions for 112 yards and one touchdown, while adding one rush attempt for 41 yards in 15 regular season games. The 27-year-old also had 15 punt returns for 56 yards and six kickoff returns for 64 yards.
 
Aghayere (6'4 – 265) joins the Riders after attending off-season workouts with the Seattle Seahawks. He had previously signed with the team as an undrafted free agent in April, 2013.
 
Previously, the Texas native played four seasons at Louisiana State where he collected 44 defensive tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and two quarterback sacks in 43 career collegiate games.

TWO RIDERS GET PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Saskatchewan Roughrider defensive end John Chick and linebacker Sam Hurl have each been named a CFL Gibson's Finest Player of the Week.
 
Chick was named Defensive Player of the Week after a dominating performance in Saturday's 37-9 victory over the visiting Toronto Argonauts. The 31-year-old Wyoming native recorded two quarterback sacks, one forced fumble and one defensive tackle.
 
For the season, Chick has 11 defensive tackles, three tackles for loss, one forced fumble, and a league leading six quarterback sacks. This is the third time in five CFL seasons that Chick has picked up Defensive Player of the Week.
 
Hurl was named Canadian Player of the Week after an equally impressive week five performance. The 24-year-old Calgary native registered a single game career high seven defensive tackles, while also adding a fumble recovery.
 
The three year CFL veteran currently sits fourth in the league with 21 defensive tackles. It is the first time Hurl has picked up Player of the Week honours.
 
It is the third and fourth time this season that a Rider has earned Player of the Week honours after Ricky Foley picked up double recognition to open the season.

THE LATEST ON LULAY

SURREY, B.C. - Travis Lulay felt like a kid again Monday - at least for a little while.

The B.C. Lions quarterback, who is nearing the end of his stint on the six-game injured list, returned to practice for a few plays as his club prepared for their next game Saturday in Calgary against the unbeaten Stampeders.

"It was just fun to be able to practise again,'' said Lulay, who has been sidelined since the start of the season. "I've been watching for a long time. So the joke is that I've got fresh legs now.''

The freshness of his shoulder, however, remains in question as he continues to recover from off-season surgery to repair a torn labrum. Lulay took part in a spring offensive mini-camp, but the shoulder was not up to strength for training camp or the pre-season and the Lions (2-3) placed him on the six-game injured list prior to their regular-season opener.

"It really is going to be depending on how the weeks go and stuff,'' he said. "This is still a progression for me. This is the first step into a live environment with moving parts and reading defences and all of that stuff.''

Lulay was pleased with how the shoulder felt while he made short-range passes, but does not want to get ahead of himself in his recovery, which includes acupuncture along with stretching, strengthening and mobility exercises.

He is not eligible - or ready, according to coach Mike Benevides - to return for Saturday's contest, but is now allowed to take part in practice under CFL rules covering the long-term injury list.

Until Lulay is able to return, Kevin Glenn - whose eight interceptions already exceed his total of seven with Calgary last season - will remain the man in the middle, pending any decision to go with backup John Beck. Lulay says he is confident that Glenn can rebound from his struggles last weekend in a humiliating 23-6 loss to Winnipeg last Friday.

"That's a really good trait, especially for a quarterback, because there's a lot of mental stuff that goes into playing the position,'' he said. "So you have to be able to move past a tough outing. (Glenn) has developed the ability to do that from his experience, just being in the league a long time. It's been cool to see.''

Benevides could not hide his displeasure with the mistakes and numerous penalties committed against Winnipeg. He says he wants his players to get back to playing the "disciplined football'' that they did the two previous weeks in wins over Saskatchewan and Montreal.

"It's a discipline thing,'' he said. "It's an anger-management thing. It's finding poise.''

While trying to get through their own quarterbacking woes, the Lions will try to disrupt the poise of Calgary signal-caller Bo Levi Mitchell. With seven consecutive wins dating to last season, Mitchell has equalled the CFL record for quarterback victories to start a career, shared by Jeff Garcia, and could gain sole possession of it Saturday.

Lions defensive back Ryan Phillips said stopping Mitchell's record run is not a priority. Instead, defenders want to prevent him from connecting with his receivers and apply suitable pressure on Mitchell. The Lions, he added, also need to bring their overall game up to Calgary's level.

"They're where we want to be,'' said Phillips.

Notes: Benevides said coaches are working with Glenn to reduce a pre-snap tendency that helps opponents read where the ball is going. Winnipeg players said the habit aided their cause, but Benevides said coaches were already "well aware'' of it. Punter Ricky Schmitt, who missed the Winnipeg game because of leg and shoulder injuries sustained while riding a motorized scooter, took part in light kicking activity and hopes to return against Calgary. Schmitt considers himself lucky to be alive, after colliding with the rear of a car, and says his days of riding a scooter are over. Defensive lineman Khalif Mitchell, who has missed the past two games with a rib injury, had a good practice and could return against the Stampeders, according to Benevides.

Monday, July 28, 2014

STAMPEDERS ADD HUGH CHARLES

Calgary Stampeders head coach and general manager John Hufnagel is pleased to announce the signing of international running back Hugh Charles to the practice roster. As per team policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
 
Currently in his seventh CFL season, Charles has rushed 401 times for 2,170 yards and 15 touchdowns and added 82 receptions for 995 yards and five touchdowns over 55 games with Saskatchewan and Edmonton. He has also returned 78 kickoffs for 1,718 yards, a 22.0 average.
 
"Hugh is a CFL veteran who over the years has demonstrated great ability as a runner, a receiver out of the backfield and a kick returner," said Hufnagel. "With our current injury situation, Hugh provides some very valuable depth for us at the running back and kick-returner positions."
 
Charles first joined the league as a free agent with Saskatchewan in 2008 where he played 21 games before being traded to Edmonton on Oct. 12, 2011. Charles became the Eskimos' featured back in 2012 and 2013, amassing 1,292 rushing yards and 724 receiving yards over 31 regular-season games.
 
Charles was released by Edmonton at the end of training camp this year and played one game with Saskatchewan.

DAYTONA HOMES MONDAY MORNING GOALIE


FROM THE ARGOS TO THE AGROS:  It's been a great start to UP WEEK.  The Riders got back on track Saturday with a 37-9 drubbing of the Toronto Argonauts and on Sunday we were invited out to the Aulie cabin at Regina Beach for their annual gathering of U of S Agriculture grads (Agros).  We also celebrated Keith Aulie's new contract with the Edmonton Oilers.  With Jordan Eberle and Keith together in Edmonton, are we now cheering for the Oilers?  After all, this is an Oilers town.


The beach volleyball tournament was a lot of fun.  The "Young Guys" team won the belt...


Yours truly was on the "Old Guys" team...


That's the longest Slip 'N Slide I've ever seen!  It was a tremendous day with good friends.  Thanks to the Aulie's!

---

RANDOM MONDAY THOUGHTS

THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE:  Actually, we didn't know what the 2014 Saskatchewan Roughriders were but Saturday's win over the Argonauts was a big step in the right direction.  While the Riders' statistics weren't off-the-charts, the turnover battle (6-2) was in Saskatchewan's favour and decided the game.  Running back Will Ford's Rider debut could not have gone better, rushing for 113 yards and three touchdowns.  It appears that situation has been rectified which is a relief.  Ford got the bulk of the reps in Tuesday's closed practice and while the coaches felt early on that he would be the starter, he wasn't told until late in the week.  They were waiting to see how quickly he absorbed the offense, but Ford passed with flying colours.

REVERSING THE CURSE:  The Riders hadn't lost back-to-back games by double digits since that dreadful 2011 season.  Thankfully that streak was snapped.  The bye week truly came at a great time.  There were a lot of negative vibes around the team but now it appears to be all positive.  The mental side of the game is huge and losing can snowball if you let it.  So can winning.

TO BENCH OR NOT TO BENCH?: Rider punt returner Marshay Green was not taken out of the game because of his second half fumble.  It was because of injury.  However the Riders' decision to sit guys down for coughing up the ball caught the league's attention.  Many fans and CFL observers alike were vocally against the moves by the Rider coaching staff but consider this; in the Shivers and Barrett era, players were allowed to habitually make mistakes with no fear of losing their starting job.  Who's right?  Perhaps the answer is somewhere in the middle.

D.A.?:  One has to wonder if Argo coach Scott Milanovich sedated defensive back Dwight Anderson prior to Saturday's game?  I fully expected he'd be out at midfield jawing at the Riders when they came out of the tunnel but he was nowhere to be found and didn't really make an impact over the course of the game.  Argo quarterback Ricky Ray said D.A. is still discovering where he fits in in that locker room.  One thing about Dwight; he truly is a good person.  He's like those tough guy hockey players who are really polite to your Mom off the ice but once they put skates on, they want to rip the opponent's head off.  That's D.A. once he gets between the white lines.

A GREAT NIGHT:  Saturday was a special night at Mosaic Stadium.  I had a friend from Mississauga, a new business owner in Regina, attend his first ever Rider game that night.  He texted afterwards, "What a first game - I couldn't have asked for anything better".  It truly is better in the stands.

NEXT UP:  It's too early to say if the Roughriders are heading into a favourable part of their schedule but their next three games are against Ottawa, Winnipeg and Montreal.  Two of those teams have below .500 records however two are also on the road.  The Riders open their Week 6 preparations on Tuesday with another closed practice.

O'DAY FOR PREZ?:  The rumour mill is churning as the Saskatchewan Roughriders look for the successor to Jim Hopson as team President and CEO.  Former Rider running back Greg Fieger is leading the search.  Two well-placed sources have suggested current Rider Assistant GM Jeremy O'Day may get an opportunity at the position.  I have not confirmed the story with Jeremy however people close to O'Day say the rumours aren't coming from him!

DRESSLER UPDATE: We now have two reporters following Kansas City Chiefs training camp for us and the latest is Curtis Mullen who provided the following photo and recap of Weston Dressler's progress so far:

"Sunday July 27th was Season Ticket appreciation day at Chiefs training camp.  Chief season ticket holders were treated to a pancake breakfast early before they watched their team prepare for the 2014 season.  Training camp is being held on the campus of Missouri Western University in St. Joseph Missouri (approx 35 miles north of Kansas City). When practice started it was held under sunny skies with a slight NW breeze and it was 25 C.  Practice started at 8:15 and by 9:00 AM there were approx. 3500 fans taking in the action.  Here is marketing tip for the Riders, each and every fan had to pass through the merchandise tent before being able to watch the practice.

In addition to the 1 on 1’s that the QB’s and receivers worked on the most informative part of practice was the 3 sets of 11 on 11 that were ran.  Each player was playing in full pads and there were NFL referee’s present.  The ref’s were dropping flags if there was PI on either the offense or defense.  To assist in the simulation of game action, music was blaring from the speakers to make it harder for the QB’s to call audible’s.

The QB’s on the Chiefs roster are the following;
# 11 Alex Smith (starting QB)
#10 Chase Daniel (current # 2)
#9 Tyler Bray (pushing Chase to be # 2 – but a rookie out of Tennessee)
#7 Aaron Murray (rookie out of Georgia)

Here is breakdown of the # of plays Weston participated in during the 11 on 11 scrimmage drills;

QB # of Plays
Smith 0
Daniel 9
Bray 8
Murray 4

In addition to the 11 on 11 scrimmages that were ran a 7 on 7 drill was also ran.  Below is the breakdown on the plays the Weston participated in;

QB # of Plays
Smith 2
Daniel 5
Bray 3
Murray 2

In addition to the above mentioned activities the QB’s and receivers also did some 1 on 1’s and 3 on 3’s.

When you combine all of the opportunities that Weston had the ball thrown to him here is the breakdown by QB

QB Thrown to Caught Over / under thrown
Smith 2 2 (These passes were during the 1 on 1’s)
Daniel 2 2
Bray 1 1
Murray 1 1

This may not seem like a lot of opportunities for Weston to prove himself, but please keep in mind that at this time the Chiefs currently have 13 WR, 5 TE and 7 RB in camp.  With all of these bodies, it just takes a long time for a player to have his # come up.

As we all know if Weston is to make the Chiefs his versatility on special teams could be the deciding factor.  Weston participated in both punt coverage and punt return drills.  In the punt coverage, he was playing the ‘gunner’ position but both of these plays were fakes.  In regards to the punt return plays, Weston was the 2nd returner to take the field.  Each of the returner’s had one ball punted to them.

At the end of practice I noticed that there was an official from the Argos scouting the practice.  He had on an Argo golf shirt and was carrying a lap top bag with the Argo logo on it. When I noticed him, he was speaking with some Chiefs coaching personnel.

Practice ended at 11:00 AM.  By this time the temperature had risen to 32 C.  As the players made their way to the locker room, they had to walk the gauntlet of fans clamoring for autographs.  Weston is focused on the task at hand and kept on walking.

Hopefully this was beneficial.  This was just one practice, it will take going to another practice to make a comparison to see how Weston is progressing."

PATS RUMOURS: We've got to be close to an announcement on the next head coach of the Regina Pats.  The hockey people are buzzing with "What's taking so long?"  Rumours are rampant that a couple of would-be coaches turned the position down and that has elongated the process.

I caution you to be very skeptical with what you hear about the Regina Pats right now.  People plant stories just to muddle things up.  For instance someone said the new owners are more "hands-on" than the previous regime however I assure you that's not the case.  This hiring is entirely GM Chad Lang's call and will simply be approved by the new ownership group.  Let's be honest - these guys didn't exactly inherit the Chicago Blackhawks so they're taking their time and doing things the right way.

One story popped up Friday evening that Dave Struch, who coached the Saskatoon Blades last year, has been offered the head coaching job of the Humboldt Broncos however he's still in the running in Regina and is waiting for word out of here.  Who knows if it's true?

---

Here are some NFL training camp primers courtesy of the Associated Press for the teams which I follow the closest.  Is your team in here?:

DALLAS COWBOYS (8-8)

OPEN CAMP: July 24, Oxnard, California.

LAST YEAR: Cowboys finished third straight 8-8 season with third consecutive loss in finale against NFC East foe with playoff berth on line. Eagles beat them in 2013.

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: OL Zack Martin; DE DeMarcus Lawrence; DTs Henry Melton and Terrell McClain; passing game co-ordinator Scott Linehan.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: LB Sean Lee; DE DeMarcus Ware; DT Jason Hatcher.

CAMP NEEDS: Top priority is replacement for MLB Lee (torn ACL); is that player on roster? Justin Durant enters camp as starter, fourth-round pick Anthony Hitchens and second-year player DeVonte Holloman also in mix. QB Tony Romo enters camp without having worked any competitive situations for second straight off-season, but he's much further along with latest back issue. Overhaul of defensive line kicks into high gear, with rookie second-rounder Lawrence possible heir to Ware, free agent Melton trying to show he's recovered from knee surgery.

EXPECTATIONS: Cowboys are without two best players from defence that was worst in league and gave up most yards in franchise history, so hard to imagine anything better than another 8-8. With coach Jason Garrett in final year of contract, anything less than post-season berth could mean Jerry Jones is looking for eighth head coach in 25 years as owner. Dallas had one head coach (Tom Landry) in franchise's first 29 years.

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ARIZONA CARDINALS (10-6)

OPEN CAMP: July 25, Glendale, Arizona.

LAST YEAR: In Bruce Arians' first season as coach, compiled best record since 2009, failed to reach playoffs in tough NFC West. Defence dominated, most significantly in 17-10 late-season victory at eventual Super Bowl champion Seattle. Offence, with Carson Palmer still learning Arians' intricate system, improved over last half of schedule, led by dynamic rookie RB Andre Ellington, receiving duo of Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd.

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: OT Jared Veldheer; CB Antonio Cromartie; ILB Larry Foote; TE John Carlson; SS Deone Bucannon.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: ILBs Daryl Washington and Karlos Dansby; RB Rashard Mendenhall; G Daryn Colledge; WR Andre Roberts; LB Matt Shaughnessy; S Yeremiah Bell.

CAMP NEEDS: Washington and Dansby were heart of defence that ranked sixth, but Washington suspended for year for violating NFL substance abuse policy. Dansby departed via free agency. Second-year pro Kevin Minter, who played one down on defence last season, is penciled in at one spot. Other seems to be open competition. Also competition at RG, RT and TE. Cardinals plan expanded role for Ellington as feature back. Also are looking for third receiver to replace Roberts.

EXPECTATIONS: Cardinals are thinking playoffs, but need better record than 2-4 within division of 2014.

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CHICAGO BEARS (8-8)

OPEN CAMP: July 24, Bourbonnais, Illinois.

LAST YEAR: Bears made huge jump on offence in first season under coach Marc Trestman. Main problem was on other side of ball. With injuries and poor play in general, Chicago's defence ranked among league's worst, allowed next-to-worst 478 points.

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: DEs Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young; CB Kyle Fuller; Ss Adrian Wilson, Ryan Mundy, and M.D. Jennings.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: DE Julius Peppers; DT Henry Melton; QB Josh McCown.

CAMP NEEDS: Time for an overhauled defence to come together; someone to establish himself as backup QB to Jay Cutler.

EXPECTATIONS: Most significant move was not signing Allen. It was giving Cutler seven-year contract instead of letting him hit free agency. Allen, however, is most significant addition. Bears hope five-time Pro Bowler can ignite pass rush and help stabilize unit that struggled in big way. ``Monsters of the Midway'' ranked 30th overall and 32nd against run. If defence can make leap to respectability, Chicago figures to challenge in division, maybe make playoff run after missing out six of past seven years. That's assuming offence that returns all starters does not take unexpected step back.

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KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (11-5)

OPEN CAMP: July 24, Missouri Western, St. Joseph, Missouri.

LAST YEAR: After going 2-14 two years ago, Chiefs overhauled roster under new GM John Dorsey and rebounded to win first nine games. They scuffled down the stretch but earned wild card before blowing 28-point lead in 45-44 loss at Indianapolis.

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: OL Jeff Linkenbach; LBs Dee Ford and Joe Mays; DT Vance Walker; CBs Chris Owens and Phillip Gaines; RB De'Anthony Thomas.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: OLs Branden Albert, Jon Asamoah and Geoff Schwartz; WR Dexter McCluster; FS Kendrick Lewis; CB Brandon Flowers; LB Akeem Jordan; DE Tyson Jackson.

CAMP NEEDS: Chiefs need to settle on starting offensive line, particularly RG, where Rokevious Watkins has been suspended four games for violating league's substance abuse policy. Competition at WR figures to be stiff behind Dwayne Bowe, and jobs at FS and CB will be up for grabs. Watch for contract negotiations involving QB Alex Smith and LB Justin Houston; both can become free agents after season. Houston skipped all voluntary and mandatory off-season workouts.

EXPECTATIONS: Chiefs lost three Pro Bowl players, three starting offensive linemen and several veterans who provided valuable depth. They made modest moves in free agency due to salary cap situation. Second-year coach Andy Reid believes everyone having a year in his system will help. But with more difficult schedule, many believe a .500 record will be successful.

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TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (4-12)

OPEN CAMP: July 25, Tampa, Florida.

LAST YEAR: Season began with expectations of contending for playoffs quickly spiraled out of control. Outbreak of MRSA infection in locker room preceded early demotion and subsequent release of quarterback Josh Freeman. Addition of star CB Darrelle Revis didn't help defence much, offence sputtered with rookie QB Mike Glennon, finishing 30th in scoring, last in passing and total yardage. Nonstop chaos claimed jobs of coach Greg Schiano (11-21 in two seasons) and GM Mark Dominik.

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: Coach Lovie Smith; defensive co-ordinator Leslie Frazier; offensive co-ordinator Jeff Tedford; QB Josh McCown; DE Michael Johnson; WRs Mike Evans and Louis Murphy; CB Alterraun Verner; OT Anthony Collins; C Evan Dietrich-Smith; DT Clinton McDonald; TEs Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Brandon Myers; RB Charles Sims.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: CB Darrelle Revis; WR Mike Williams; OT Donald Penn; G Davin Joseph; C Jeremy Zuttah; LB Dekoda Watson.

CAMP NEEDS: New coaching staff also means new offensive and defensive systems. Smith is counting on McCown, career backup coming off best season (in Chicago), to take charge, help transition of draft picks Evans, Seferian-Jenkins and Sims from college, and instil confidence in unit that also figures to include three new line starters.

EXPECTATIONS: Bucs haven't made playoffs since 2007, but Smith insists he isn't beginning rebuilding project. He believes McCown can be consistent QB lacking for more than decade, and that personnel changes he and first-year GM Jason Licht made will meld with holdovers Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David, Mark Barron, Dashon Goldson, Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson.

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SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (16-3)

OPEN CAMP: July 25, Renton, Washington.

LAST YEAR: Seattle won first Super Bowl title with 43-8 dismantling of Denver. Had best defence in NFL led by All-Pros Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas. Seahawks got another standout season from RB Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson continued progression toward elite quarterback. Matched franchise record for regular-season victories (13), won six times away from Seattle.

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: DT Kevin Williams; QB Terrelle Pryor; WRs Kevin Norwood and Paul Richardson; DE Cassius Marsh; OT Justin Britt.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: DEs Chris Clemons and Red Bryant; DT Clinton McDonald; CB Walter Thurmond; G Paul McQuistan; OT Breno Giacomini; WR Golden Tate.

CAMP NEEDS: Not much for champs to solve. Defensive line depth took hit in free agency, but Seattle has young talent that rarely saw the field last season. Deciding starter at OLB between Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith and Bruce Irvin. Finding WR depth behind Percy Harvin and Doug Baldwin. RT and LG will be positions to watch on offensive line.

EXPECTATIONS: Expectations haven't changed. Now, narrative has gone from whether Seattle is legit Super Bowl contender to can Seahawks be first team in a decade to repeat? Locked up Sherman and Thomas with lucrative extensions. Wilson should continue to improve and offence has impressive speed with Harvin healthy and addition of Richardson. Only lingering concern is whether Lynch's desire for reworked contract will become distraction. Otherwise, Seahawks are favoured in NFC.

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THAT'S IT FOR TODAY. ENJOY UP WEEK!
RP
@sportscage

Sunday, July 27, 2014

MOSAIC PLACE RECAP: RIDERS 37 ARGOS 9


REGINA (CP) - Will Ford wasn't sure if he'd be the Saskatchewan Roughriders' starting running back when he signed with the CFL club earlier in the week.

But after a three-touchdown performance Saturday night to lead the Riders over the visiting Toronto Argonauts 37-9 at Mosaic Stadium, Ford made a strong case for himself.

An East Division All-Star with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2013, Ford says he came to Regina ready for any chance he'd get.

"Opportunities are limited, so you've got to take advantage of them no matter what,'' he said. "I came here to work and put the team in a position to win.''

The newly signed running back scored first-half touchdowns of 20, three and two yards in his debut for Saskatchewan (2-2), while running for a total of 113 yards. He also had 24 receiving yards.

Ford's three touchdowns on the ground were one shy of the single-game franchise record held by Ferd Burket, Milson Jones and George Reed.

The injury-depleted Argonauts (1-4) meanwhile, dropped their third straight game. Toronto's lone victory came against the Riders at Rogers Centre in Week 2.

As good as Ford was in his debut, Saskatchewan quarterback Darian Durant held off on referring to him as the team's "answer at running back.''

"Man, you can never crown anyone off of one game - it's a long way to go,'' said Durant, who connected on nine of 17 pass attempts for 155 yards and an interception. "I think Will still has some improving to do ... He did a great job of running the ball in key situations.

"But we all have to pick our game up.''

Ford echoed his quarterback's words.

"It's going to take time,'' he said. "I've got a few mistakes that I've got to work on. I stay down on myself when I make mistakes. I'm going to watch film, correct those mistakes and see what happens.''

Roughriders coach Corey Chamblin said he wasn't expecting a perfect game from Ford.

"He hadn't even been close to a training camp for us,'' Chamblin said of his new running back. "Just throwing him in there, we expected some mistakes.  But we just wanted to play fast in spite of it, and I thought the guys did that.''

Durant surpassed the 2,500 career rushing yards mark, picking up 28 yards on the ground and running in a touchdown during the game.

Argos quarterback Ricky Ray, meanwhile, was 23-of-35 passing for 221 yards and two interceptions. Toronto backup Trevor Harris completed 8-of-12 passes for 80 yards.

While Durant and Ford took care of the offence, Saskatchewan's defence also played its part, stifling Ray and the Argos throughout the game.

Toronto running back Curtis Steele was held to just 32 yards on the ground on seven carries. Maurice Mann led Argos receivers with 62 yards.

Tyron Brackenridge intercepted Ray on his first pass attempt of the night, and Tearrius George forced and recovered a Ray fumble when the Argonauts returned to the field - the second of six turnovers forced by Saskatchewan.

The Riders also forced Toronto to punt on four second-quarter possessions. Mark Legree notched a late second-half interception, shortly before the half ended with the Riders up 28-6.

Roughriders kicker Chris Milo nailed a 39-yard field goal in the third quarter, and booted field goals from 38 and 43 yards in the fourth.

Toronto kicker Swayze Waters replied with field goals of 17, 16 and 40 yards for the only Argos points of the game.

Durant opened the scoring, taking advantage of the Brackenridge interception with a 10-yard touchdown run on the Riders' first possession.

Ford scored his first touchdown two minutes later to give the Riders a 14-0 edge.

Waters replied with two field goals to get the Argos to within eight points as the first quarter drew to a close.

Ford's second TD made it a 21-6 game less than a minute into the second quarter, and his third two minutes later gave the Riders a 28-6 advantage.

The Riders visit the Ottawa Redblacks Saturday while the Argos host the Montreal Alouettes on Friday.


TICATS 33 REDBLACKS 23

HAMILTON, Ont. (CP) - Dan LeFevour stole the spotlight from Henry Burris on Saturday night.

LeFevour threw for 361 yards and a touchdown and rushed for a game-high 109 yards and a TD in his first CFL start, leading the Hamilton Tiger-Cats past the Ottawa Redblacks 33-23.

Burris was making his first appearance in Hamilton since being released by the club in January after it signed Zach Collaros as a free agent. Burris served as the Ticats starter for two seasons and led the squad to a Grey Cup appearance last year while also tutoring LeFevour.

Although LeFevour spoiled Burris's return, LeFevour downplayed any suggestion the game was about the quarterbacks.

"It had nothing to do with him,'' LeFevour said. "It was just good to see him.

"I talked to him during the week and after the game ... he was encouraging me. He's a great guy, he really is.''

LeFevour, 27, was an impressive dual threat for Hamilton (1-3). He completed 21-of-30 passes while also running 13 times, his one-yard TD at 9:44 of the fourth snapping a 23-23 tie. The big play was LeFevour hitting C.J. Gable on an 83-yard screen pass that, with a horse-tackle penalty, put the Ticats at the Ottawa one-yard line to the delight of the Ron Joyce Stadium sellout of 6,500.

"You saw what a competitor he is,'' Hamilton coach/GM Kent Austin said. "Real strong will to win, threw the ball well.

"Early on he pulled the ball down a little too soon but finally settled in and let the game come to him some more. He just really had a command of the offence.''

For the first time this season, Gable was a key figure in Hamilton's offence. The speedy running back ran six times for 62 yards and a TD while adding three catches for a team-high 105 yards as the Ticats rolled up 558 total offensive yards.

Burris, 39, finished 27-of-44 passing for 290 yards and two TDs and an interception while throwing his first interception of the season. Ottawa (1-3) pulled into a 23-23 tie on Brett Maher's 23-yard field goal at 4:41 of the fourth.

"He did a good job,'' Burris said of LeFevour. "He ran the offence, got the ball to his playmakers and made some plays.

"I'm proud of him. I just wish he would've saved that for another night but kudos to him.''

Ottawa head coach Rick Campbell said LeFevour's legs were key to Hamilton's victory.

"He's a runner, if you give him escape lanes he makes you pay,'' Campbell said. "We were trying to get him to hold the ball, which he did a couple of times, but he made some plays with his feet ... then we gave up some huge plays.

"Him and Gable, they're good athletes and you've got to be right on those guys because they make big plays.''

The Redblacks were coming off their first-ever win, an 18-17 home decision against Toronto last week, and Marcus Henry certainly did his part with 10 catches for 138 yards and a TD. But Burris said his club hurt itself against the Ticats.

"We found ways to hurt ourselves,'' he said. "We had more opportunities to put more points on the board.

"This was one of those matches where the last offence that had the ball was going to win the game. Hamilton did a good job of making big plays, we didn't make enough big plays. We can't be shooting ourselves in the foot in those key situations.''

The game was the Ticats' home opener and their first in Hamilton in 21 months as last year's home contests were played at the University of Guelph while Tim Hortons Field was being built. Saturday's contest was supposed to open Tim Hortons Field but construction delays will force the team to play at least its first two home games at McMaster.

Hamilton hosts the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Thursday night.

Brandon Banks had Hamilton's other touchdown. Medlock added the converts and four field goals.

Matt Carter scored Ottawa's other touchdown. Maher had the converts and three field goals.

Medlock's 36-yard field goal capped an entertaining first half and earned Hamilton a 20-17 advantage. It was set up by Craig Butler's interception that put the Ticats at their own 45-yard line.

The contest began at a fever pitch with TDs on the first three possessions.

Banks took LeFevour's shovel pass 53 yards for the score on the second play from scrimmage just 58 seconds in before Burris countered with a smart 13-play, 96-yard march he capped with a 10-yard TD toss to Carter at 7:35. But Gable's 47-yard touchdown run on the Ticats fifth offensive play at 9:29 put them ahead 14-7 as they opened by gaining 158 yards on their first five plays.

NOTES - LeFevour became the Ticats third different starter this year after Collaros (head injury) and Jeremiah Masoli started the earlier contests ... Saturday's game was the first between Hamilton and Ottawa since Oct. 21, 2005 when the Ticats downed the former Renegades 40-32 ... Ottawa entered weekend action tied atop the East Division with Toronto and Montreal. The last time an Ottawa club was first in the East was Aug. 19, 2005 when the Renegades were 5-3 but they lost their next six games to fall from playoff contention ... Ottawa's scratches were defensive lineman Nigel Romick and tackle Nate Menkin while Hamilton`s were receiver Greg Ellingson and defensive lineman Arnaud Gascon-Nadon.

SUNDAY SPORTS

Running back Will Ford made the most of his Saskatchewan Roughriders debut. Ford ran for three touchdowns as the Riders dominated the visiting Toronto Argonauts 37-9 Saturday night. His three rushing TD's were one shy of the franchise record for a single game. Toronto, meanwhile, dropped its third straight game to fall to 1-4 on the season.  The Riders are 2-2 heading to Ottawa in Week 6.

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Henry Burris will have to wait another day for revenge. Burris and the Ottawa Redblacks lost 33-23 to Hamilton on Saturday. Burris led the Tiger-Cats to a Grey Cup appearance last year but was disappointed to be released in the off-season. The Ticats meanwhile earned their first victory of the season.

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The Canadian Open could once again belong to Jim Furyk. He's three strokes ahead with one round left at Royal Montreal. Furyk is chasing a third title at the tournament. Canada's Graham DeLaet trails by seven strokes.

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The Blue Jays are still neck and neck with the Yankees for an American League wild-card spot. Toronto defeated New York 6-4 to pull back even with their division rivals for second place behind AL East leading Baltimore. The Jays and Yankees are also tied for the second wild-card berth. The L-A Angels have a firm grasp on the other wild card.

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Baseball's best team battered a slumping division rival. Oakland hit four home runs in a six-batter span en route to a 5-1 win over Texas. Elsewhere in the majors, Colorado clobbered Pittsburgh 8-1, Arizona needed 10 innings to beat Philly 10-6 and Atlanta defeated San Diego 5-3.

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Robbie Lawler will get another shot at UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks. Lawler defeated Matt Brown in a unanimous decision to earn a rematch less than a year after a close loss to Hendricks. The fight will likely happen next year with Hendricks nursing an arm injury.

(Canadian Press)