PREVIEW: Riders look to remain undefeated against Hamilton

Green Zone pre-game show begins at 3:30 on News Talk Radio
Reported by Joel Gasson
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The Saskatchewan Roughriders will try to move their record to 4-0 this afternoon when they host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Mosaic Stadium.

It's a game that is filled with intrigue and plenty of story lines; it could be perhaps the most anticipated week four games ever in the CFL.

First and foremost, it's the return of Kent Austin to Saskatchewan; it's the first time he'll be at Mosaic Stadium since winning the Grey Cup in 2007, and then taking off to the NCAA.

Austin isn't exactly a fan of all of the attention that's been thrown in his direction.

"It's a little ridiculous quite frankly," said Austin. "This game isn't about me, it's about the players, right?"

Austin is looking forward to coming out of the tunnel onto the field later this afternoon, saying that Mosaic Stadium is the most unique experience in the CFL.

He's also noted the giant banner of him hanging from the west side of the stadium.

"I'm surprised it hasn't been torn down yet," joked Austin.

When Austin takes to the field with his Ti-Cats there will certainly be a mix of emotions in the crowd, but one man the Riders sideline who won't have mixed feelings is linebacker Rey Williams.

Since being let go by Austin and the Ti-Cats Williams hasn't been afraid to let it be known that he wasn't happy with the way it went down.

"I haven't even spoke to those guys," said Williams. "Never spoke to them in my life ever."

Because of that Williams might be a little more pumped up than usual this week, if that's even possible. It appears there was thought around Hamilton that Williams was a part of their inability to stop the run, but so far that hasn't been the case.

"They tried to blame it on me," said Williams. "It wasn't me, of course when you leave a team and you try to put things on you, you don't want them to do well."

Conversely, the Riders run defense has been top notch so far this year, with only the Winnipeg Blue Bombers giving up fewer yards on the ground so far this year.

Not surprisingly, Williams is hopeful the fans will join him in giving Austin an earful all night long.

"I want boo's, I want the Hank chant, I want it all," said Williams with a laugh." Boo's and a Hank chant and I'll be happy."

As Williams noted, the game is also another return for Saskatchewan favourite enemy, Henry Burris.

For once Burris might not actually be the centre of attention from the fans, but surely the "Henry" chants will come out at some point.

He expects his teammates to have some fun with that big Austin banner as well.

"I think they're going to get a nice little laugh out of it," said Burris, adding it will also show them just how much Austin has accomplished too. "Not only as a coach, but a player in this league."

On the field the team has been a little sluggish out of the gate, but smiling Hank thinks they're going in the right direction overall.

"Honestly, I'm having a lot of fun," said Burris. "Because I know what we can grow into, and I'm going to do everything to make sure that comes true."

While the coaching staff may have changed, even with Chris Williams holding out, and Andy Fantuz on the shelf, Burris will still present a challenge for the Riders defense.

"He can run on you, he can throw the ball on you," said defensive backs coach Barron Miles. "It's scary at times."

The Riders will go into this game with a different backfield too, with Carlos Thomas and Macho Harris out for sure, and Terrel Maze likely to be one of the scratches come game time. That means Diamond Ferri, Woodny Turenne and the newly re-signed Eddie Russ will all see extra time.

Offensively the Riders have been rolling so far this year scoring the most points in the league, and believe it or not they'll likely get a boost today as Geroy Simon finally gets to make his Green and White debut.

"Really excited to get out here and play in front of these fans and this organization, it's going to be a treat," said Simon.

We still don't know for sure if Durant will play or not, but if he does, he's looking forward to seeing Simon out there.

"I've been looking forward to getting him out there and getting that chemistry going, and making plays with him," said Durant.

The fact that Simon's debut is almost a near afterthought shows just how much is going on in this game, and why it's shaping up to be one of the more memorable this year at Mosaic Stadium.

Kickoff is at 5 p.m. on TSN, the Green Zone pre-game show starts at 3:30 p.m., the post-game show follows the final whistle.