PREVIEW: Riders hoping to use home field to their advantage against Lions

Green Zone Pre-Game show begins at 3:30 on News Talk Radio
Reported by Joel Gasson
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With so much on the line against the B.C. Lions the Riders want to take full advantage of their home field.

A win would do a couple of things for the Riders; they would clinch at least a home playoff game and a win would also keep them alive when it comes to hosting the west final. How that works out could come down to the game next week in Calgary against the Stampeders.

First things first though as the Riders need to beat the Lions for that to happen, and to make that happen they hope to use some Saskatchewan advantage to help them out.

The first edge the Riders will have in this one is the 13th man. Heading into the game head coach Corey Chamblin and most of the team have been talking a lot more about crowd noise than they normally would. Chamblin especially wants Rider Nation to crank the volume up to 11.

"We want to make sure we're as loud as we need to be before they can even get into the huddle," he said. "Make sure they can't get the play, make sure they can't get the snap count."

Of course Chamblin doesn't think that Mosaic Stadium is normally a library, but he would like to see the fans get loud a lot sooner than they normally would. To help with that the team even filmed some videos with defensive players urging fans to get loud, look for those to be on the Maxtron during the game.

Something that is likely working in the Riders favour when it comes to crowd noise will be the time of day. With a 5 p.m. kick-off the fans will have all day to get ready for this one. Games that have started earlier, the crowd has been a little quieter to start the game.

"Whenever it's a night game here, it's just one of the most electric places I've ever seen," said Darian Durant, who thinks the fans will be ready to go.

Durant isn't only counting on the fans to be loud; he's counting on the weather to be cool. Being based in Vancouver and playing a domed stadium, the Lions don't see this kind of weather often. Despite being from the Southern United States, this is the kind of weather Durant lives for.

"I'm a cold weather guy, I sweat a lot," he said. "I hate it when it's warm and hot."

Another reason Durant loves it when it gets cold; when he lowers the boom it hurts, so he doesn't plan on sliding as much. We've seen Durant lay out some big hits this time of year like during the 2010 West Final when he took out Dwight Anderson.

"I know DB's aren't going to want to hit me and deal with (Kory Sheets) also," he said.

It's always iffy when a quarterback decides to get physical, but Chamblin has no issue doing it as long as he doesn't get reckless.

When it gets cold the running game becomes even more important as throwing the ball becomes more difficult and it gives the offensive line a chance to wear down the defensive line.

"When you take a good shot you feel it more in the cold," said offensive lineman Brendon LaBatte. "(We) want to try and grid them down, so in the fourth quarter we can gain strength and momentum.

A loud crowd and cold weather won't win this game by itself. The Riders will still be facing a good football team who have some pretty dangerous weapons on offence. We all know about quarterback Thomas DeMarco and his array of receivers, but a new weapon has been added this week too with Stefan Logan returning the CFL.

It's unclear at this point how much time Logan will see, odds are he'll be returning kicks for sure. Ricky Foley used to play with Logan when they were both Lions, he said the biggest thing people may not know about Logan is his physicality.

"Some DB came up on him and he was trying to break down so he didn't get by him. (Logan) just lowered his shoulder," he said.

There's also the strange case of running back Andrew Harris. Last season he set a record for all-purpose yards with his ability to both run and catch the football at a high level. So far this year he's barely been involved with the Lions offence.

Defensive coordinator Richie Hall knows that Harris still has the ability to break free and put up some huge numbers, so he's definitely hoping that Harris remains an afterthought in B.C.

"I'm glad when they don't give him the ball because he's an exceptional athlete, he makes plays for them," said Hall.

Due to injury the Riders have been forced to make a number of changes to their special teams lineup. Linebackers Tristan Black and Cory Huclack along with fullback Spencer Moore are all off this week, coming on them will be fullback Daryl Stephenson, defensive lineman Levi Steinhauer (who will be the team's long snapper) and linebacker Kevin Regimbald.

Kick-off is at 5 p.m. on TSN with plenty of tickets to the game still available.

The Green Zone Pre-Game Show gets underway 3:30 p.m. on News Talk Radio. The Post-Game Show follows the final whistle.