ODDS N' ENDS
2 - NO VINCE, NO PROBLEM: One man's loss is another man's gain and while many of us were disappointed to learn that Vince Young has been scratched from Saturday's game due to a hamstring injury, those plays will now fall to the back-up QBs. #1 pivot Kevin Glenn isn't expected to be used much - if it all - on Saturday so the coaches have been getting back-ups Bryan Bennett, Brandon Bridge and Marquise Williams ready for the game. They've been working with their various receiver groupings and offensive line combinations to build a rapport.
There are conspiracy theories that Vince Young has concocted this hamstring injury to give him an easy "out", but I'm not much for conspiracy theories (unless they're my own). To come up with a theory like that, you'd have to actually come to training camp and look in Vince Young's eyes yourself. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't want to go out this way.
And regarding Young, his story has certainly added some life to what would be an otherwise dull spring. He's certainly put the Roughriders in the headlines.
3 - INJURIES: Some veterans have been battling the injury bug so that will play a big role in the roster fielded in Saturday's game. Chad Owens, Sam Eguavoen, Brendon Labatte, Kienan LaFrance, Ese Mrabure and Jorgen Hus are all veterans who've missed varying amounts of time. However it's not a major concern for Head Coach & GM Chris Jones at this time.
"It's just camp stuff," Jones explained. "I know last year for the first game we had 10 guys on the 6-Game Injured List with serious, significant injuries. What we have right now is soft tissue injuries and things of that nature."
4 - HE LIKES IT, HE LOVES IT: Chris Jones' home state of Tennessee has Hockey Fever with the Nashville Predators all tied up with the Pittsburgh Penguins at 2-2 in the Stanley Cup Finals heading into Game 5 Thursday night in Pittsburgh. Jones said he's been caught up in the excitement as well.
"Yeah I am!" Jones laughed on Wednesday. "They evened the series up I hear! I look forward to following that the rest of the way. I don't have much time, certainly, to look at any TV but I catch the highlights. They're loving it down in Nashville. A lot of my friends are going to the games and it's a hot ticket! They're paying a lot of money for the tickets right now."
|Riders' Wayne Morsky and Craig Reynolds watch on Wednesday|
"Excited!" O'Day said of his mood leading up to the game. "It's exciting. Real excited to see the players get in there and be working in the space that we put together for them. And just to see how the flow's going to work and how they utilize the space we have in there for them.
"And then how electric it is once they go onto the field. We're looking forward to seeing how it's going to sound. We had some experience there with the Rams game but we're excited to see how the noise is going to be with it full. Just everything about it! The new atmosphere, the field, we're starting a new tradition of how we come out of the locker room so it'll be exciting to see them come out of the tunnel. Excitement is the biggest word."
We'll be sure not to be in a commercial break on 620 CKRM when the Riders take to the field for the first time in their new home on Saturday. It's going to be spine-tingling.
6 - OF COURSE, THERE'S THE GAME: Once the ball gets kicked off on Saturday night, the attention of the Rider football staff will turn immediately to the task at hand: evaluating the players' performance in their first game action.
"The stadium will be nice but ultimately we're excited to evaluate to see our guys in game action against another team," O'Day continued. "These guys are at the point in camp where they're tired of going against each other and tired of seeing the same techniques used against them by their teammates. Training camp's important but for us, it's more for those guys to learn, learn the playbooks and the system, and get acquainted with how we do things in Saskatchewan."
|Picton tracks a pass in training camp|
It'll be the Rider debut for rookie draft pick Mitch Picton, but the receiver has already played in the new stadium while with the U of R Rams back on October 1.
"It's similar," Picton said of his nerves leading up to Saturday's game. "That was the biggest crowd I'd ever played in front of so there were some nerves there. I got that out of the way and now I'm looking forward to getting back into that stadium and making some plays."
Picton joins a long list of hometown Roughriders - which includes his older brother Aaron - who have had the thrill of playing for the Green & White. It's an opportunity he plans to embrace.
"I definitely don't think it makes me any more nervous," Picton smiled. "In fact I think it'll be a calming effect, playing in the same city I've played in my whole life in front of the same people who've been watching me my whole life. My family and friends are all going to be there and they've been with me through it all. I'm looking forward to getting back and playing in my city."
8 - IF YOU'RE GOING TO THE GAME: Some notes from Rider Radio 620 CKRM for fans going to Saturday's game:
- This game is not televised. Catch the game on 620 CKRM. Pre-game show starts at 4 pm.
- This is the last ‘test’ event at the new stadium.
- Plan to arrive early to check out the new stadium and new features; new concourse, new lounge (Studio 620), new Riders store….it’s ALL new!
- Traffic around the new Mosaic Stadium will be restricted to City Transit and Taxis prior to the game. Elphinstone street will be closed between Saskatchewan Drive and Dewdney Avenue.
- Leave the car at home and take the FREE Rider Transit presented by WorkSafe Sask! Transit pickups begin at 5pm from Victoria Square Mall, Normanview Crossing, Southland Mall, Northgate Mall, Delta Hotel and Victoria Park. (Just show your Rider ticket for FREE Rider Transit).
For this game (and only the June 10th game) there is NOT a Party at the Practice Field.
A new event; The Coors Light Party in The Park will debut for the July 1st game at Confederation Park.
After coming off of a tough loss in Georgia last weekend, the upcoming game is a must win for the Saskatchewan Rush in order to defend their Champion’s Cup title for the third year straight.
The team asks Rush Nation to join them for the pre-game rally with SaskTel Centre opening its doors at 5:30pm. Arrive early as the Rush will be giving away tons of prizes – concert tickets, NHL tickets, and more!! Be sure to be there to pick up your rally towel if you haven’t already, and head to merchandise booth to pick up all things green and glowing. Let’s light up SaskTel Centre and really make this a night to remember!
Tickets are STILL AVAILABLE for Saturday's game, and Rush Nation we need YOU to help DEFEND THE CUP! Secure your tickets on Ticketmaster or by calling the Sask Rush Office at 1-306-978-7874.
10 - DON'T REMIND ME: Seattle Thunderbirds head coach Steve Konowalchuk will throw out the Ceremonial First Pitch prior to the Seattle Mariners game against the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday at Safeco Field.
The Mariners are honoring the T-Birds for winning the 2017 WHL Championship. The T-Birds won the Western Hockey League Championship with a first round sweep of the Tri-City Americans, a second round sweep of the Everett Silvertips, a 4-2 series win over the Kelowna Rockets in the Western Conference Championship and a 4-2 series win over the Regina Pats in the WHL Championship.
The T-Birds defeated the Regina Pats 4-3 in overtime of Game 6 to win the WHL Championship. Alexander True scored the game winning overtime goal.
The Ed Chynoweth Cup and assistant coach Matt O'Dette will also be at the game and take part in the celebration of the T-Birds Championship season.
THAT'S IT! SEE YOU ON THE RADIO