REGINA — When training camp resumes in six months time in Saskatchewan, all eyes will be centered on the quarterbacks.
It’s no secret that quarterbacks are always the centre of attention on a football field, especially one that happens to be located in the province of Saskatchewan.
What’s interesting to note this year, however, is that all four Green and White quarterbacks from 2012 are under contract and eligible to return again in 2013.
Leading the way under centre for the Riders will be eight-year veteran Darian Durant, who will enter training atop the team’s depth chart. Needless to say, the starting role is his to lose.
Durant is coming off a bounce-back year in 2012, registering career bests in completion percentage (64.4) and interceptions with just 12.
The 30-year-old pivot missed one game with a mid-season hip injury, one that forced him to miss a Week 12 outing against the Montreal Alouettes.
Upon his return the following week against the Stampeders, Durant proved that despite being slightly limited physically, he was still able to maintain his composure in the pocket, leading the Riders to an impressive 30-25 win. They then went on to win their next two games, with Durant leading the charge for the Riders attack.
A healthy Durant keeps opposing defences on edge with his big play capabilities both through the air and on the ground. The South Carolina native is a focused and ambitious individual driven to lead the Riders towards league supremacy.
Playing behind Durant is second-year Rider Drew Willy, who will garner much of the attention should Durant stumble out of the game in 2013.
Slated at number two on the depth chart throughout the 2012 regular season, Willy started at quarterback twice and regularly appeared in short yardage situations.
In Week 11, Willy also helped lead the Riders to a last play victory in Winnipeg, a game in which he completed 17 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown after coming in for relief of the injured Durant.
Look for Willy to push for more playing time in 2013.
Veteran pivot J.T O’Sullivan may be considered the wild card in the mix. After seeing limited reps throughout the 2012 season, O’Sullivan’s experience and football IQ served him well as he pushed up to the number two quarterback spot for the Western Semi-Final.
A player like O’Sullivan could offer the Riders veteran stability should the offence falter or Durant be forced to miss time.
Finally, second year man Levi Brown spent his 2012 rookie season on the team’s injured list, allowing him the opportunity to develop a better understanding of Canadian football.
The strong-armed 25-year old has shown big potential and should push for a spot on the active roster.