Heading into this season, one of the biggest questions facing the Riders was who would replace centre Dominic Picard and how well would they do.
So far, Dan Clark has been able to get the job done rather well.
“I don’t think there’s ever a comfort level in football. But, I think the unity between each other, across the board, even with the guys that are on the sidelines right now, it’s great. We all help each other out; we all make each other better. I think that’s one of the things for our success up front right now,” said Clark.
Like any good offensive lineman would, Clark is quick to give credit to his teammates for his success. However, from the outside, the case can certainly be made for Clark to be the favourite to be the Riders nominee for most outstanding offensive lineman.
Not only has Clark taken over the most important job on the offensive line, he’s done so without skipping a beat.
“We’re high on him. He’s a guy that gives everything. He’s learned so much,” said offensive line coach Dan Derazio.
“If you watch practice, just listen to him. He’s a leader out there, just directing everybody where we to go. (He’s) fast on his calls, crisp – Danny is doing a real good job.”
Clark’s journey to this season has been well documented. It started a few years ago as a regional junior exception that allowed him to be on the team’s practice roster as he continued to play for the Regina Thunder.
Clark turned pro in 2012 and has worked his way to where he is today.
The Regina native has had some help along the way, most notably from the team’s now interim general manager and former offensive lineman in the league, Jeremy O’Day.
“Like (O’Day) said to me when I first started taking centre snaps, everything is going to slow down. Everything’s starting to slow down. I’m starting to notice things that maybe at at the beginning of camp that I’d never pick up or last year that I’d never pick up,” he said.
Clark’s conversations with O’Day have also slowed down over the course of the season but Clark knows that the door is always open.
“That’s one thing that’s helped me out through this entire thing is being able to go talk to a guy like that,” he said.
As Clark moves forward as the team’s man in the middle, he admits there’s still an adjustment when it comes to make the right call fast enough. But, he’s had some help there with veterans Brendon LaBatte and Chris Best on either side.
News and Notes
The Riders released receiver Korey Williams on Wednesday. Williams clarified on Twitter that he asked for his release after declining a spot on the practice roster.
Four players were added to the Riders practice roster as the team signed receiver Marcus Davis, QB Hutson Mason, running back Chad Spann and linebacker Johnathan Willard.
Kevin Glenn returned to practice on Wednesday. He’s eligible to return to the lineup next week against Ottawa. Interim head coach Bob Dyce told reporters he remains focused on working with Brett Smith, Keith Price and Blake Sims.