Trent Richardson underwhelming but solid Riders debut

Trent Richardson’s CFL debut went a lot like his first games in the NCAA and NFL: underwhelming.

The first time Richardson touched an NCAA field he had three carries for 10 yards in a 34-24 win over Virginia Tech. The first time he touched an NFL field Richardson had 19 carries for 39 yards in a 17-16 loss to the Eagles. Richardson’s final line his first time in a CFL game: five carries for 20 yards in a 27-24 victory.

“It was cool. Of course you want the ball, and of course you want to be on the field, but it was a good start,” the 27-year-old said about his first foray into three-down action.

There was no noticeable difference in speed from practice to game time pace.

“It wasn’t faster, we practice hard and I only know one speed, I’m always running full speed. Anytime if I’m at practice or not, I’m always going full speed,” Richardson said.

Even with the wider and longer field, 12 players and motion, Richardson felt he could get used to the nuances of the CFL game.

“Most definitely. We practice and I’ve been going every rep in practice all the time, so I was used to it,” Richardson said. “Coach prepared me and he’s been grinding with me, he’s been installing in my head making sure I was prepared.”

Even though Richardson was ready for game action, he believes there is some meshing with teammates that still has to take place.

“I don’t know if the guys are used to me yet, but we won and got the outcome we wanted,” Richardson said. “Just everybody, nobody’s ever really played with me except for CJ [Christion Jones] and Duron [Carter]. I’m a gamer man, I just turn into a whole different person, that’s my home out there, that’s my stage, especially game day.”

Two former University of Alabama and current Riders teammates, Jones and Carter helped Richardson get through his first CFL game.

“They keep me there mentally no matter what’s going on. When I feel like I’m supposed to have the ball, they keep me into it. When I feel like I messed up, they keep me into it,” Richardson said. “No matter what they keep me prepared.”

There was no touch count or special packages for Richardson that he knew about, he would have been able to run with the entire offence if called upon.

“We just rotated. It’s always a humbling learning experience, but it’s game over,” Richardson said. “When I used to be at ‘Bama we only got a 24-hour period, but now you’re a professional, so I’m looking forward to next week.”