nobig Three- ring bling thing
Just not right that Riders have won only a trio of Cups
EDMONTON— They count Grey Cup championships in Saskatchewan on one hand. Yes, just three times in their existence have the Roughriders held the Grey Cup aloft at season’s end — in 1966, 1989 and 2007.
And, truthfully, that is something that burns at the very core of Roughrider QB Darian Durant. It’s also something that struck him the minute the Riders set up shop in the Edmonton Eskimos’ dressing room for Grey Cup week, what with the Green and Gold’s 13 championships featured prominently at the entrance of their swank new digs.
“ When you walk into their room and see all the Grey Cups on the wall, that’s something I want to bring to Saskatchewan,” said Durant earlier this week. “ I hate the fact there’s only been three ( Grey Cups) in 100 years.”
So Durant’s goal is to not only continue to develop as a QB, but to make trips to the Grey Cup a regular occurrence for the franchise. He’s made the trips thing work so far — two years as the starter, two years in the big game, making him just the second Rider QB alongside Ron Lancaster to accomplish that — and has the backing of his head coach Ken Miller.
You see, it was Miller whomade a critical decision that has helped both Durant and the Rider franchise. It was back at the start of the 2009 season when the 69-year-old coach decided he would hitch the Rider wagon to this young star and then see where he could lead it.
“ In Regina, the most popular quarterback for a long, long time has been the ‘ other one’,” Miller said earlier this week. “ It didn’t matter who the ‘ other one’ was, or the guy who was playing was. I said ‘ we’re not going to do that anymore.’ We’re going to go with one quarterback, and I’m going to live or die with him.
“ From that point on, he was going to be the quarterback, or I wasn’t going to be the coach. One way or the other.”
Durant comes from a family of athletes — his father played football and was a track star, his mother played softball, his brother Justin is linebacker with the Jacksonville Jaguars and a second brother, Keyshawn, played at South Carolina State before suffering a seizure that robbed him of some of his vision. Maybe it’s that perspective that has helped him handle swimming around in the fishbowl that is playing quarterback for the Riders.
It’s also a big part of his game — his teammates refer to him as ‘ Bounce Back’ — that features a resolve and a resiliency that has become this team’s trademark.
It’s also why Durant has come to understand what many do not: the statistics mean diddly. The ring’s the thing.
“ We’re seeking that ring. That’s what we’re after and that’s our goal,” he said. “ I do feel like I’m one of the top players in this league, if I said otherwise I’d be selling myself short. But where I rank, I don’t know. That’s for you guys to decide. I’ll let my play speak for itself.”