A name that Rider Nation has been asking about since he signed will finally make his first start of the season Friday night.
Chad Owens, who signed with the Riders in the offseason primarily as a return man will make his Roughrider debut as a receiver.
Owens returned from a second stint on the six-game injured list last week but was one of the team’s scratches against Ottawa. He had missed much of the season recovering from a foot injury sustained last season when he played for Hamilton, but an injury to Rider teammate Naaman Roosevelt opened up a spot for him.
Owens is excited to finally be able to put it out there on the field.
“It hurts you as a player knowing the type of grind your teammates go through and you can’t be out there grinding with them — knowing that you’re feeling as if you can help and you can’t be out there helping as much,” Owens explained on Wednesday. “So it’s very rewarding to be able to come out with these guys and put in work.”
He’s also excited to finally get to play with quarterback Kevin Glenn. Owens said when they met in his rookie year he hoped he’d get to catch a pass from Glenn someday. That day will likely be Friday.
“I want nothing more than for him to win a championship and I’m going to do my part,” Owens said.
Glenn commented that it will be nice to have a veteran presence in a spot where he usually has Roosevelt.
“It’s just one of those things that you can explain something to him and he gets it right away. He understands the game. He sees the defence as if he’s a quarterback,” Glenn said.
Running back Cameron Marshall returns
Glenn is also getting some extra reinforcement in the back field, as running back Cameron Marshall is back from his leg injury.
The Riders’ run game hasn’t been the same since Marshall was injured during the Labour Day Classic. He was averaging 5.6 yards a carry and keeping defences on their toes. Glenn is hoping he can spark it back up again.
“It’s going to be big. It’s like a two-headed monster with both (Marshall and Trent Richardson) back there … they’re both bruiser type of backs so I’m excited to see Cam back and he’s a very good blocker back there in pass protection,” Glenn said.
Marshall himself is ready to pick up where he left off – though this time he’ll be sporting a knee brace.
“I’m feeling really good and I’m excited about going out there this weekend and getting a chance to play against some live competition again,” Marshall said, knowing as the weather gets colder he will be depended on even more down the stretch.
“Especially those late game carries when they know you’re running the ball and you’re trying to milk the clock and you got to get yards, that’s the situation you want to be in,” Marshall said.
The offensive line will look a little different than when Marshall last played in it.
Derek Dennis injured, Dan Clark back in lineup
Derek Dennis is out of Friday’s game with a back injury and no timeline on his return. That saw Dan Clark activated from the six-game injured list after he was knocked out of a game on Aug. 5.
He said the move was as big of a surprise to him as it was to anyone else.
“But it’s one of those things that no matter what, (I) always prepared from a young age that you got to be able to be the next one up and ready to go for the team,” he said.
You’ll see him sporting a new piece of hardware however, on his left elbow which will be a lasting legacy for that August injury. There’s no need to worry because the centre is a right-handed snapper.
“Left just hangs out and chills,” he said with a laugh.
Clark moving back to the line-up will move Brendon LaBatte out of that position and back to left guard where he’s spent most of his career.
Clark said it will be business as usual for the line.
“It’s all the faith (in) everybody across the board … we have the consistency as brothers.”
The Riders have made a couple other changes to line up including putting Jeff Knox Jr. ahead of Henoc Muamba at middle linebacker and Samuel Egauvoen returning his spot in the linebacking corps.
The Riders also made a splash on Wednesday when they announced Duron Carter will start as a defensive back for the injured Kacey Rodgers.
Canadian Joshua Stanford is listed in Carter’s spot at wide receiver.
Kick off is at 7 p.m. CJME’s 10-hour game day begins at 3 p.m.