Pre-season games are meant as a tool to evaluate, but win or lose a team wants to find some positives. Rider head coach Ken Miller and his assistants will struggle somewhat to find those positives after they were beaten soundly in Calgary by a score of 41-17 to end the exhibition season.
One positive was the play of rookie receiver Cary Koch. He may have secured a spot on the 46 man roster with an impressive five catches for 84 yards and a touchdown.
“When you get your shot, you hopefully shine.” Koch said, “I definitely think I did that today even though the final score isn’t what was desired. I felt like I had to go out and do something after a terrible practice on Wednesday. I said to myself I had to catch someone’s eye each day after that and hopefully I did enough today to get a spot on this team.”
Miller did like what he saw from Koch. Despite the one-sided final, Miller adds he did see a lot of things that left him feeling good.
“I thought Koch had a good day as did our starting receivers. I thought Darian played well, and I thought our offensive line that started the game really played well.” Miller told 620 CKRM’s Carm Carteri when all was said and done. “When you look at it though, it was not the kind of football that we normally play. We had way too many penalties and too many of them that were self inflicted. It was just one of those games where we didn’t play with the effort and emotion that is characteristic of our team.”
Mike McCullough was named the top defensive player on the afternoon for the team. He says it was a disappointing effort, but it was pre-season.
“We’re disappointed,” McCullough said. “However, it was pre-season so there were a lot of guys going in and out. I’m not going to put too much stock into going 0-2 in the pre-season. We did that last year and look how things turned out. The big thing is to get ready for Montreal on July 1st and I’m confident we will be.”
The team will return to Regina and take Monday and Tuesday off before hitting the practice field again Wednesday. Miller has indicated some cuts will be made before the team practices again with many more cuts coming Thursday or Friday. The regular season opens Canada Day when the Montreal Alouettes come to Mosaic Stadium in a Grey Cup rematch. Kickoff is 5 PM