It’s a game six months in the making.
On Friday, quarterback Zach Collaros will start for the Saskatchewan Roughriders for the first time since being traded to the team on Jan. 3.
“Antsy, excited, anxious – all of those things,” Collaros said about his debut in the green and white on home turf.
“Walking down (to the field) today with some of the guys talking about how electric a feeling that is and getting really excited to run out that tunnel and get out of there in front of our fans.”
Collaros, 29, and fellow quarterback Brandon Bridge, 26, didn’t see any time in the team’s first preseason game on May 27 because the Roughriders opted to play new quarterbacks David Watford, B.J. Daniel and the since-cut Marquise Williams.
That’s made for a very long wait for Collaros.
Before arriving in Saskatchewan, he lost his starting job on the struggling Hamilton Tiger-cats. Shakeups in the team’s football operations saw Kent Austin relinquish the head coaching job to June Jones who opted for a fresh start with Hamilton’s current starter Jeremiah Masoli.
Collaros sat on the sidelines for the rest of the season, save a brief appearance in week 18.
All this means is Collaros is ready to get back on the field and show the coaches he can be a starter again.
“I think I have a good feel for when Coach Mac (offensive co-ordinator Stephen McAdoo) calls a play what he’s asking the quarterback to do, asking the quarterback to see, so I think that’s a good starting point,” he said.
Also fighting for the Roughriders starting quarterback positions is Brandon Bridge, who has been in the green and white since summer 2016.
Head coach Chris Jones maintained all through camp that every position was up for grabs and quarterback positions were no different. This game, he said, will determine who will get the starting job week one.
“We’ve charted every throw that they’ve made (in training camp) whether it was an errant throw, whether it was a good throw, whether the (receiver) could catch it and run after the catch,” Jones said. “So that’s the decision that we’ve made, this is where we’re going and we’re looking forward to seeing both of them play.”
“They both have took turns playing food football. They both have been the two most consistent guys that’ we’ve had,” Jones added.
Collaros, however, has not concerned himself with the competition, preferring instead just to make sure he knew the playbook and is doing what coaches asked him to.
“Once you start worrying about other people and what they’re doing, I think my play would not be where it should be,” he said.
As for what he thinks he needs to prove? Well, that’s simple.
“I think I need to prove to the coaches and to my teammates that I’m going to do what they ask me to do and do it well.”
He’ll get that chance in the first and third quarters of Friday’s game.
Bridge, on the other hand, is expected to play the second and fourth.
Kick off is at 7:30 p.m. at Mosaic Stadium. The game is not being televised.
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