August 25, 2010

Bye week productive for Durant and Rodriguez

Mitchell Blair

REGINA — When the Saskatchewan Roughriders added to their already talented receiving core by trading for Prechae Rodriguez in February, it was thought he would be the home-run threat the team had been missing. That hasn’t happened yet, but the football team is confident that it will be happening, and happening soon.

The 25-year-old Rodriguez has not made the impact that some thought he would have made this year even though he goes into Saturday’s game against Edmonton with 17 catches for 259 yards and two touchdowns. While some think Rodriguez isn’t contributing, head coach Ken Miller feels as if he is still evolving in the offensive scheme.

“His comfort level and learning a new system has slowed him,” Miller admits. “But as you have seen over the past few weeks, he has had a bigger and bigger role. We are expecting a lot out of Prechae in the second half.”

One thing that made Miller smile was the fact Rodriguez did not use the bye week to fly back to the United States. He stuck around and worked out daily with quarterback Darian Durant as the two continue to familiarize themselves with one another. Its something Durant thinks was a win-win situation for all concerned.

“It was very beneficial for me and I hope he would say the same thing.” Durant said after Tuesday’s workout.”When you are out here with everyone else, its hard for him to tell me certain things, but he can do that when we are one-on-one. That time last week allowed him to tell me how I should throw certain balls on certain routes.”

Durant is also quick to discount any notion that Rodriguez is a forgotten part of his talented pass-catchers.

“We haven’t even come close to seeing his full potential,” Durant insists. “We work every day to get the chemistry down and its working. He’s definitely a great athlete and a great receiver. We want to find out what he does the best and implement that into our offence and compliment him with our other weapons.”

As for Rodriguez himself, he admits the perceived lack of performance has hurt his confidence a little bit, but he remains positive saying he knows he and his quarterback are slowly developing the chemistry that is needed to be successful.

“Darian and I get more and more comfortable with each other each day. He’s a great quarterback and he is determined to get the job done and get everyone involved,” states Rodriguez. “I’m just being patient and slowly blending my way into this offence. We work with one another every day after practice, and I’m a very patient guy so I know my time will come. When it does, I will make the most of the opportunity.

Coach Miller says when that time comes, it will make the already dangerous Rider offence just that much more dangerous.

“We want to grow Prechae’s position on this team so that he becomes a bigger part of what we do.” Miller said. “Doing that makes us more diversified and dangerous.