Calgary Herald

Riley ready to step in for Riders


Eron Riley is ready to step up regardless of the role he’s asked to play with the Saskatchew­an Roughrider­s.

Riley is expected to start at slotback against the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday at Rogers Centre while the Riders deal with injuries to veteran Chris Getzlaf and Chaz Schilens. Getzlaf hasn’t practised since the Riders defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 31-10 on Sunday.

Head coach Corey Chamblin said he wanted to talk to Getzlaf before determinin­g if the veteran receiver would travel to Toronto.

Schilens is week-to-week while he recovers from a knee injury he suffered in the first half of Sunday’s game.

Schilens’ injury likely opens a starting spot for Riley. If Getzlaf doesn’t play, Ryan Smith could be elevated from a backup to a starter.

Riley worked with the first-team offence during the Riders’ preparatio­ns for Saturday’s game.

Riley said that dealing with the uncertaint­y of being a starter or backup is part of being a receiver.

“Everybody goes into their job knowing that they have to be ready,” Riley said after Thursday’s practice at Mosaic Stadium.

“I come in every day prepared like I’m up and I’m ready until something else changes.

“If my number is called, I’ll be ready to play.”

Chamblin feels that Riley and Smith are both ready to start.

“I don’t think they have a choice,” Chamblin said. “Those guys are next up. They are going to be in there and they have to ready to perform.”

Riley has had limited opportunit­ies to perform for the Riders since signing before the 2013 season. Riley, a product of Duke University, dressed for four games in 2013 before being sidelined by an ankle injury.

Riley made his first start in the second game of the 2013 regular season when Geroy Simon was sidelined with a hamstring injury. Riley, who had one reception for three yards in Saskatchew­an’s 36-21 win over the host Calgary Stampeders, finished the regular season with five receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown. He also dressed for the West Division semifinal, making three catches for 19 yards in Saskatchew­an’s 29-25 win over the B.C. Lions.

Riley would have preferred to play more in 2013, but still gained experience in his first CFL season.

“I’m a lot more comfortabl­e in the offence and in playing the game,” said the six-foot-three, 205-pound native of Savannah, Ga. “Mentally and physically I’m better at knowing where everyone else is going and not just what I’m doing. I’m better at reading defences and overall I’m just a better player.”

Getzlaf missed all of the Riders’ pre-season while nursing a quadriceps injury. Getzlaf ’s absence allowed receivers like Riley to get more repetition­s with the first-team offence and with quarterbac­k Darian Durant.

“(Riley) is a guy who has been here and knows the system,” Durant said. “He’s a great player and if his number is called, he’ll be ready.”

Chamblin feels the experience Riley gained in training camp could be valuable Saturday.

“We had some guys down in training camp and other guys have seen increased playing time,” Chamblin said. “The guys are ready to play in this game. They may have some nerves, but it’s a good opportunit­y for them.”

 ?? Greg Pender/Postmedia News ?? Injuries to Chris Getzlaf and Chaz Schilens give Rider Eron Riley an opportunit­y for increased playing time against the Argos this week.
Greg Pender/Postmedia News Injuries to Chris Getzlaf and Chaz Schilens give Rider Eron Riley an opportunit­y for increased playing time against the Argos this week.

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