Monday, July 30, 2007

I'd rather be a Rider than...

Rider Prophet here with all the news that is news across the Rider Nation.

Rider pride got a huge boost on Saturday as our Riders atoned for last weeks collapse with a 54-14 thrashing of the visiting Eskimos. The manner in which The Riders had their way with Edmonton should have Macciocia considering pressing charges. This game had everything - scoring, great catches, interceptions, sacks, a blocked punt, a punt recovery and even a heavy dose of Chris Szarka on offense which should hopefully appease the Szarka-maniacs for a while (oh who I am kidding, #33's performance on Saturday will only add fuel to the fire that he should be the focal point of our offense).

The TSN turning point in this game came early in the 1st quarter when after a 2-and-out series on offense, Jamie Boreham came like a green missile and recovered his own punt. The game's momentum shifted right there and the Riders never looked back. Usually, if a kicker gets a special teams tackle it means that there was a breakdown in coverage and the kicker is trying desperately to prevent a TD. This is not the case with Boreham. I think Boreham is convinced he's a linebacker (he sure hits like one). Watching him this season, I've decided that Jamie should adopt the nickname "Juggernaught". He certainly runs and hits like one.

Imagine how awesome it would be for Boreham to level a guy on a punt return and get up and say "I'm the Juggernaught bitch!"

The big story this week was no doubt the defense: 4 sacks, 3 interceptions, a blocked punt and 2 defensive TD's. All this and we were missing our defensive leader Eddie Davis!! We now lead the league in virtually every defensive category.

The Eskimos prolific offense, which features the likes of Ricky Ray, Jason Tucker, Trevor Gaylor and Ron McClendon, managed a total of 14 points this week. That was good enough to tie them with two of Saskatchewan's most legendary, renowned offensive weapons - that's right, I'm talking about Kitwana Jones and Kyle Mitchell.

Hats off to Corey Grant for making that highlight reel circus catch in the second half. Many were surprised that Grant managed to catch that ball. Not me though, given that the ball was pretty much uncatchable and did not really affect the outcome of the game, Grant was guaranteed to make the reception. Now had he been wide-open for a TD in the first quarter then it would definitely have bounced out of his fingers.

In other CFL news, Milt Stegall finally broke the CFL TD record on Friday. While I was hoping that the record would stand, I'm just glad that it's over with and we can start talking about something else. Going in to this game I was convinced that George Reed had paid off everyone in the league to ensure Stegall didn't break the record. Seriously, Stegall was open over the middle quite a bit over the last couple games but Kevin Glenn "didn't see him".

Upon breaking the record, one of the first things Stegall did was go up and personally thank Davin Bush for letting Milt burn him for 4 TD's in one game. Good job Davin, Stegall couldn't have done it without you.

Well that's it for now, check back later this week for my thoughts on Thursday's game in BC.

Until next time, I'm the Rider Prophet.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Prophecies coming true...

Rider Prophet here with all the news that is news across the Rider Nation.

I would like to start off this week by pointing out that I am not just a Prophet in name alone. Those who have been following me since day one will remember my preseason poem where I predicted a shaky 5-5 start that would make the fans mad as well as Austin benching some big names. Well here we are about to enter week 5 and low and behold we are on pace for 5-5, the fans are mad and Austin has benched Fantuz.

To make a comparison, the rest of the media is like Environment Canada. They have all these weather predictions based on hours of in-depth analysis but are usually wrong. I on the other hand am like Gus Wickstrom, the pig spleen guy (God rest his soul), my methods are obscure and non scientific but end up being more accurate than the so called experts.

We are currently on a 2 game losing streak and that means its time for Rider fans far and wide to start talking likes it’s the end of the world and calling for heads to roll. This hysteria is so predictable even Environment couldn’t get it wrong. Every year at the first sign of difficulty, the fanatics start calling for everything from changing the QB to firing the coach to changing the flavour of Gatorade we use during the game. Don’t get me wrong, I think the Riders need to make some adjustments too but I’m not about to get in a panic just yet.

These same fanatics were yelling and screaming when we showed the door to the likes of Nate Davis and that sure ended up coming back to haunt us. Davis had 4 sacks last season; his replacement Marcus Adams has 4 sacks in his first 2 games this season! So let’s have some faith in Tillman and Austin.

I suppose you could side with the fanatics but then we’d have a team where Rocky Butler was our starting QB, Szarka accounted for 90% of our offensive play book and Nate Davis was still be getting tossed around like a rag doll in the trenches.

There has been lots of talk this week about Andy Fantuz. Going in to the season everyone was predicting an all-star year from him. However, watching him these last couple weeks you’d swear he eats extra buttery popcorn on the sidelines between plays.

Although many say this is nothing more than a mental problem, I have a different explanation. Fantuz is suffering from a virus called the French Flu. It’s similar to the Spanish Flu only instead of causing coughing and fever it causes non-import receivers to be unable to catch even the simplest of passes. Our previous non-import receiver suffered from the flu as well. His case was actually so severe they renamed the virus after him.

Eddie Davis has been placed on the 9 game injured reserve list. This injury has dealt a hooker sized blow to our defense. This is like the X-men loosing Professor X (well except Davis is black, has hair and can walk). Lance Frazier will get the nod this Saturday which certainly makes things interesting given that Eddie Davis has more experience than our current starting 5 combined.

But I guess the key to playing DB is being able to get to the ball and knock it down, which made the competition to fill Davis' spot a dead heat between Frazier and Fantuz.

Almost all other CFL teams are feeling the effect of the injury bug as well. With big names like Dickenson, Marsh, Bishop, Levingston, Bush, Cody all nursing injuries.

I will personally miss Davis Sanchez most of all. I consider him one of the dirtiest players in the league which always makes him interesting to watch. Receivers across the CFL however will not miss him one bit. In fact many commented that it will be a relief not having that dirty Sanchez in their face for a few weeks.

Well that about does it for now. Hope to see you in the stands on Saturday.

Until next time, I’m the Rider Prophet.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The Rider Prophet's New Home

Twas the day after the contest and all over the net
The masses spewed hate at a man they'd not met.
The Rider Blogger had been chosen, a poor choice at that,
Perhaps the judges got drunk and pulled a name from a hat.
For the winner was announced as Devin Heroux,
Said Karwandy: "I hope all the bad things in life happen to you, and no one but you."

Now instead of the jokes and insight the people wanted to hear
They will be forced to read Devin long for the glory days of yester-year.
"This isn't in depth, there's no penetration!
What this Devin kid needs is a good defenestration!"

Final words from the Prophet to console his fans who are grieving:
"If you'll excuse me I have to put some water in Devin's momma's dish, good evening."


If you are reading this I'm sure you're as disappointed as me in the outcome of the Mysask blog contest. But fear not... the Rider Prophet will not be silenced.

Due to overwhelming fan support, I have decided to start my own blog. Now all season long you can look forward to Rider analysis served up with a twist of humour and wit that only the Rider Prophet could provide. Your comments are always welcome. There were some hilarious comments during the contest so keep them coming.

Here's to new beginnings and a great Rider Season!


Tyler Karwandy, aka The Rider Prophet

PS - I've posted both of my entries from the mysask contest so you can continue to enjoy them.

The Blog that should have won

Here's the blog that should have won the mysask blog contest.

Rider Prophet here with all the news that is news across the Rider Nation.

Going in to camp we had more holes to fill than a city road worker. But after a good camp and with 2 preseason wins in hand, I am much more confident in our team now than I was back in May.

The top story continues to be coaching. You can't talk Rider football without discussing the new Austin regime. I'll be the first to admit I had my doubts when he was hired but I must say I've been pleasantly surprised. Austin has thus far shown to have all the makings of a great coach. He's all business and his business is all about winning. He brings an aura of confidence with him that's quite refreshing.

However, history isn't on Kent's side as only 7 first year head coaches in the last 56 years have gone on to win the cup. Statistically, winning the cup this year is about as likely as a "We Love Ballsy" chant breaking out on the East side of Mosaic Stadium.

Another story being followed closely is the battle at quarterback. Joseph and Crandell have been in a dead heat since training camp opened which I think is great! Nothing like competition to bring out the best in players. After watching Friday's game I would bet on Joseph to start
- his mobility will come in handy as our o-line continues to mesh. That said, I think Crandell is the more accurate passer and expect him to be the man under centre by mid-season.

Don't worry Kerry; if Marcus does beat you out for top spot we could always use a good Safety.

The off-season departure of Kenton Keith left a gap in our offense that would rival the one between Henry Burris' teeth. A brand new twist to this story was thrown in on Saturday when we acquired Wes Cates after Bracey and Russell struggled on Friday. Cates is a solid back and I expect him to start at least until Henri Childs is healthy again.

Although Cates has good hands, don't expect the Riders to run a swing pass until Henri returns. This is smart coaching, since everyone knows that the swing pass is Childs' play.

A dangerous passing attack in Saskatchewan? All signs point to just that. The preseason games have shown that we are willing and able to complete passes over 20 yards. We are even starting to use the middle of the field instead of the tried and true 5 yard out. For the first time in a long time our QB will have an array of talented receivers to choose from when passing: Dominguez, Armstead, Flick, Murphy and this year's break-out performer Andy Fantuz (and that's just our starters).

The last time we had this many capable receivers Michael Keaton was Batman, Russia was still known as the USSR and the Quebec Nordiques had just drafted a young Swedish hot shot named Sundin.

Like many out there I was a bit worried about our secondary coming into the season with the loss of Bush and Morgan. I'm happy to say I'm no longer worried. Rontarius has stepped up big time this season and Justin looks like he'll fit in nicely with the returning Clovis and Johnson on Eddie Davis' squad.

Although Dokes had a good preseason, it seems the coaches forgot about Dre.

So there you have it Rider fans, if the preseason is any indication we're in for an exciting season. Until next time, I'm the Rider Prophet.

Rider Predictions

This was my first entry in the mysask blog contest. It's the one that got me into the finals:

Twas the month before kickoff and all through the field
The Riders were training, refusing to yield.
The receivers were running their patterns with care
In hopes that the football would soon be there.
Gainer was nestled all snug in his hole
As Eric Tillman dreamt of the ultimate goal.
When all of a sudden, who comes this way?
Tis’ I, the Rider Prophet, hear what I have to say:

Our start will be shaky but we’ll steadily improve
As Joseph and the receivers settle into a groove.
Losing Morgan and Bush may be cause for despair,
But I have a feeling Rontarious will intercept his fair share.
Eddie Davis will bring a young secondary along,
And under the guidance of Richie the defense will grow strong.
Our linebackers look solid with Stancil, Lloyd, Jones and Hunt,
And what's this? Special teams? Luca learned how to punt!

Austin's battle cry will preach refusing to lose
Watch for a breakout season from Andy Fantuz.
We shall start 5-5 and fans will be mad -
"Bring back Danny Barrett, he wasn’t that bad!"
We should be playing the backup! The refs won't make a call!
And for the love of God, someone give Szarka the ball!"
As with every year, we will need to be patient
But have no fear, Austin’s team won't be complacent.

He will make adjustments and bench some big names
And low and behold we will start winning games.
Momentum will shift and we’ll go on a streak
The team will show promise when things once looked bleak.
After years in the trenches with no recognition,
O'Day wins Lineman of the Year - unrivaled at his position.
He'll be joined on the podium by sack leader Fred Perry,
Defensive Player of the Year, his pass rush was scary.

We're good for 2nd place at 11 and 7,
A home playoff game! The Rider Nation is in heaven.
The path through the playoffs looks much like '06
Except the Stamps come to Mosaic - Henry still throws four picks.
Yet again in the final the Lions we face
But as history dictates we will fail at BC Place.
Once again we’ll be close but end with a tear.
We’ll have a good run but have to wait one more year

So you’ll hear me exclaim as I dash into the night.
Go Riders Go, let’s hope I’m not right!