Wednesday, June 15, 2016
REDBLACKS LOSE POWELL FOR THE SEASON
The Redblacks announced Wednesday that Powell was done for the season with a ruptured Achilles. The running back made just two carries before being helped off the field in Ottawa's 18-14 pre-season win over Winnipeg on Monday.
The Redblacks will also be without fullback Brendan Gillanders (knee) and offensive lineman Nolan MacMillan (wrist) who are expected to miss 8-10 weeks. Defensive back Mikael Charland is also on the six-game injured list.
Ottawa had been looking for a strong season from Powell after he rose to prominence in the second half of the 2015 season.
"It means that someone else is going to step in and replace him, that's part of football,'' said head coach Rick Campbell. "It's disappointing for him personally because I know he was looking forward to the year and it's disappointing for our team, but injuries are part of football and it's going to be next man up.''
Next man up appears to be Travon Van at this point. He ran seven times for 38 yards Monday night and added two catches for 10 yards.
Campbell was pleased with Van's performance and for now it appears he will get the call, but the Redblacks are likely to keep their options open.
"He did a good job in the game and did some good stuff for us last year in the limited time he was in,'' said Campbell. "We're open to whoever that best guy is. I think Travon would do a great job, but we're going to make sure we use whatever group or individual or combination of people that we need to use.''
Van knows this is an opportunity for him to take a starting role and plans to make the most of his chance. Ottawa wraps up the pre-season Friday in Hamilton and Van is looking to prove to the coaching staff and management that he can get the job done.
"I'm definitely excited,'' said Van. "Coaches do a good job preparing us. We go out there and work hard and he prepares us more for whenever your number's called so you can get out there and make a play. We have confidence in putting anybody in whenever your numbers called.''
While the Redblacks plan on leaving a number of starters behind for Friday's game, Van is hopeful to make the list.
"I want to play a lot. Monday was my first game and I feel like I've got a lot of room to improve. I want to get out there and keep playing and keep trying to improve and never settle and get better each game.
"It's my first game, not really playing so much last year that I feel I still need to get my feet wet and get comfortable and see a new team and keep playing. There's so many things I still need to learn and I want to keep getting better.''
While the final roster for Friday's game hasn't been hashed out just yet Campbell said the plan was to leave as many as 30 players, and possibility all starter, behind.
"The motivation behind that is we're trying to do everything we can to be ready to go for Edmonton on the 25th,'' Campbell said. "We're just trying to be smart. We've been asked to play two pre-season games four days apart so we're just trying to make sure we're doing the right thing to get ready for the regular season.
"It's going to be a great opportunity for some of the newer guys to get a whole lot of playing time.''
Notes: Receiver/returner Jamill Smith was added to the suspended list, but Campbell expects him back next week as the suspension was for personal reasons.