With Darian Durant still on the mend, Mitchell Gale will get his second CFL start against the Montreal Alouettes on Friday night.
This was evident to anyone at practice Wednesday, but head coach Chris Jones confirmed it afterward, saying Durant just isn’t quite ready to be back on the football field.
“Darian felt better than he did yesterday, (but) Mitchell is going to be our starter and we’ll go from there,” Jones said.
In his first start Gale lead the Roughriders to their first win of the season, throwing for more than 350 yards and a touchdown. Still, he said there is some room for improvement.
“You can always be better. Whether it’s footwork, whether it’s – a completion is a good play but it could have been a better play if I would have got the ball out sooner, or if my foot would have been a bit a little bit quicker, or I would have given this more time to develop,” Gale said.
Jones said Gale will continue to develop as a quarterback, but that he’s been around football for a long time and is comfortable with the passing game. Gale threw for about 12,000 yards and 97 touchdowns in college. However, the number one thing Jones wants from Gale is for him to be himself.
“All I want him to do is just be Mitchell, don’t try to do more than that,” Jones said.
As the team continues to prepare for Montreal, Gale will continue to work on making the offence better. He said offence, defence and special teams need to go out and do their jobs, and they don’t need to do anything crazy to win this week.
“We don’t have to reinvent the wheel, we realized our preparation works,” he said.
Though preparation may look a little bit different for the offence this week as the offensive line has been marred with injury. Chris Best and Brendon LaBatte are still out for the Riders, centre Dan Clark did practice for part of this week but left Tuesday with an injury – Jones said he was unlikely to play. Xavier Fulton also left practice Tuesday and Jones said he isn’t sure if he’ll be ready for the game.
All of this leaves for a relatively inexperienced offensive line against a strong Montreal defence. Gale said he’s not worried.
“I just got to focus on my job, and trust that the guys that are put in positions here are put in positions for a reason.”
The Riders will travel to Montreal on Thursday. Game time is at 5 p.m. on Friday night.