Much has been made about Duron Carter filling in on defence for an injured Nick Marshall, but much less has been made about the man replacing Carter.
Rookie receiver Shaq Evans says he knows he’s has been given a massive opportunity to take the offensive star’s spot in the lineup.
“I’m not going to lie, the first week I felt a lot of pressure,” Evans said after Monday’s practice.
“I was like, ‘Duron’s one of the top players in this league,’ and I’m playing in his spot so people are expecting a lot.”
As the weeks have gone by, however, Evans has shown he’s finding his stride — making some outstanding catches and hauling in nine passes for 144 yards so far.
“Every week I’m getting more comfortable, every week I’m feeling more confident,” Evans said. “I feel … much more comfortable than a week ago.”
Helping with that comfort level is the trust from head coach Chris Jones.
“That’s the big thing, every week he gives me a vote of confidence that everyone believes in me. That helps me out this being my first year here and put in a spot like that,” Evan said.
While there’s still adjustments to be made, some of those will only come with time and mentoring.
Evans has had a few veterans help him out since the start of training camp including Naaman Roosevelt and Caleb Holley, but he also thanked Bakari Grant and Chad Owens — who were cut by the Roughriders at the beginning of the season — for their guidance.
“Those guys were just so much help letting me know how to use my waggle and gain my depth on routes and stuff like that,” he said.
With a few more weeks under his belt, Evans said he feels like he’s in a better place than when he first started — but that he still has a lot more to prove.
“Just being my first year in the CFL, people don’t know me,” he said.
“When the ball comes my way, I’m going to make a play. That’s what I want fans to know — even when Duron’s not out there, plays are still going to be made.”
The Riders are in Hamilton for Thursday Night Football. The Riders last game — also against the Ti-Cats — netted them an 18-13 win at home on July 6.