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REGINA, SK — If there’s one storyline that has highlighted Saskatchewan Roughriders training camp so far, it’s replacing the veterans and key players that left in the off-season.
One of those players was Kory Sheets, who played a major role in helping the Roughriders win the 101st Grey Cup on home soil last November.
But with Sheets now out of the picture, the Riders are still searching for his replacement. At the moment, the three candidates for the vacant spot appear to be Keith Toston, Jermaine Thomas and Anthony Allan.
After one pre-season game, head coach Corey Chamblin has been pleased with what he has seen from all three options.
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“Those guys did some good things. Allen had the fumble but he ran pretty hard, and also Toston did some good things when he ran the ball,” said Chamblin.
The game saw all three backs make enough of an impression to avoid first cuts, but there is still a lot of work to do.
“At this point, it’s really just about who’s getting better every day. Coaches and our offence are watching to see who is getting better every day and the guy that is will have the starting spot on day one,” Toston told Riderville.com.
Toston, Allan, and Thomas will face their second and final test on Friday when they welcome the Edmonton Eskimos to Mosaic Stadium for Saskatchewan’s last pre-season game.
Chamblin outlined the importance of the game.
“It’s fair to say after this game we’ll have a better sense of who is going to at least start the season.”
After one game ,Chamblin is happy but recognizes that there is still plenty of work to be done, especially if they intend on filling the big shoes left void by Sheets.
While he isn’t necessarily looking for a carbon copy of Sheets, he is looking for someone who can make a difference.
“I’m looking for one of those guys to step up and take that spot. I told the guys don’t be average, I want somebody special in that spot,” said the head coach.
Toston, for one, realizes it’s virtually impossible to replicate what Sheets accomplished. As a result, he’ll be looking to establish his own style into Saskatchewan’s run game.
“No pressure, every running back is different, every running back wants to do different things with their career. It’s a new season, a new team and we’re just going to treat it as that,” he said.
“We’re all like brothers and we’re just focusing on getting better each day and we’re going to treat it as that and let the best man win.”