Facing new challenges par for the course for Ben Heenan

Heenan starting at right tackle Saturday
Reported by Joel Gasson
Change text size: + -

It hasn't been a standard start to a career for Roughriders offensive lineman Ben Heenan.

When the University of Saskatchewan Huskie was taken first overall in last year's draft, it was unclear what exactly Heenan's role would be after the team loaded up on linemen that same off season signing Dominic Picard and Brendon LaBatte.

As it turned out, Heenan would be needed right away with Chris Best broke his foot in training camp and wouldn't play until the season went on. In a strange twist another lineman in crutches has forced Heenan into a new situation again. This time at right tackle.

"Little bit different than guard, adjusting my angles there," said Heenan. "Relying on information I get from (Xavier Fulton) and (Patrick Neufeld). It always helps playing against a veteran guard like Chris Best as well. "

Unlike last year, Heenan does have a better idea of what could happen now that he does have a year of experience under his belt.

"Going into last year I didn't know what to expect," said Heenan . "I was just going to take it stride and see what happens."

What ended up happening was a pretty good year for a rookie offensive lineman right out of the CIS. He seems to have been getting a vote of confidence from head coach Corey Chamblin, along with offensive line coach Doug Malone.

"Ben has played there before in his career, so it's not like it's the first time he's ever been out there, he's adjusted very well," said Malone. "We've had the benefit of two pre-season games as well."

Heenan certainly has a lot of experience to draw on across the offensive line, as the other four starters have a bunch of years under the belt.

"We're a tight unit, whenever someone else is put in there we're always fighting to help that person out," said Heenan.

Heenan isn't the only one who's seen some struggles in his new position, the entire line didn't play that well against the Stampeders last week. Earlier in the week Chamblin said that the linemen are still working hard on learning a new system.

"Pre-season is what it is," said Heenan. "There's a lot of things you have to learn. We think that we learned what we needed to."

One big difference that week to is the Stampeders did bring a more complicated defense than you would normally see in a pre-season game, especially when it comes to blitzing and stunting.

"We needed to see some, we didn't see any the first week," said Malone. "We were still in camp and doing the things we needed to prepare for the season and not the pre-season game."