The Riders held Day 3 of their practice week on a clear but windy day at Carleton University on Friday. Here are some notes:
1 – Roughriders Head Coach & Chris Jones declared Left Guard Brendon Labatte out for Sunday’s CFL Eastern Final at Toronto. Labatte missed last week’s semifinal win at Ottawa with a lower body injury and although he practiced this week, Jones said he’s not 100% healthy and for that reason, they’ll go with Derek Dennis at LG for a second straight week.
2 – Jones also announced that import running backs Cameron Marshall and Trent Richardson won’t be on the roster, just like the Ottawa game. That opens the door for the same backfield to be utilized for a second straight week: Kienan Lafrance and Marcus Thigpen.
3 – Thigpen got the game ball after the semifinal victory, rushing for 169 yards. That included a 75-yard touchdown run in the third quarter which blew the game open. The Indiana product was asked if he can duplicate that success against the Argonauts.
“Do I wonder? Hahahaha,” Thigpen laughed. “I believe so. I got a lot of faith in the offensive line, the coaching staff and the plays that we put in. I’ve prepared hard every day. We all do. Just go in there and execute our game plan. That’s all we can do at the end of the day and whatever happens, happens.”
4 – Thigpen knows the Riders will be facing a ferocious defensive front from Toronto, a unit which led the CFL with 50 sacks in the regular season.
“Their defensive line is really solid,” Thigpen explained. “Their linebackers are athletic and can move. You see a lot of bull rushing from their guys so that’ll be a challenge for me but I’m ready for it. I’ve been doing a lot of preparation this week as far as picking up the guys coming in at full speed. Overall I feel like they’re solid but there are some things that we feel like we can expose.”
5 – Immediately after Friday’s practice the Riders flew to Toronto and touched down around 3:00 pm ET. They’ll hold a day-before walkthrough in Toronto on Saturday morning and Head Coaches Chris Jones and Marc Trestman will also hold their pregame news conferences at BMO Field afterwards.
6 – The forecast for Sunday’s EDF calls for +3 degrees Celsius and wind. Kickoff is at 12:00 pm Sask Time on TSN and the 620 CKRM Rider Radio Network.