Redblacks expect QB Trevor Harris will start regular season opener

Ottawa quarterback Trevor Harris will likely skip next week’s pre-season finale but is expected to start the Redblacks’ regular-season opener later this month.

Harris had an injury scare in Thursday’s pre-season game against the Montreal Alouettes as his left knee appeared to buckle after taking a hit from linebacker Chris Ackie. The quarterback went straight to the locker-room after the play but returned to the sidelines later in the game to ride the stationary bike.

Harris didn’t take part in any drills during Saturday’s practice and didn’t speak to the media. He had a compression sock on his left leg and spent most of the session sitting on a bench with his leg elevated.

“He’s really just sore is what it is,” said head coach Rick Campbell. “He keeps getting better every day. In fact, he’s walking around so I know he’s going to be fighting me the next couple days to play in this game in Toronto, but the plan would be to go without him this week.”

The Redblacks will play the Argonauts on Thursday in Guelph, Ont. Ottawa kicks off the regular season June 21 at home against Saskatchewan.

“The good news is he didn’t damage anything, it’s literally being sore from getting hit that hard,” said Campbell. “I’m sure it scared him when it first happened. It’s really good and in fact just waking up every day he keeps getting better and he’s walking around without a limp.”

Harris will be re-evaluated on a daily basis but the Redblacks have every intention of giving him the start against the Roughriders. In the meantime, the injury will allow the team to get a better look at quarterbacks Dominique Davis and Danny Collins.

Davis, who was signed in the off-season as a free agent after three seasons in Winnipeg, is slated to be the backup once the season starts.

Both pivots played against the Alouettes. Davis was 8 for 13 for 80 yards and one touchdown while Collins went 12 for 21 for 185 yards, one TD and one interception.

“I thought (Davis) did a really good job and was calm and peaceful,” said offensive co-ordinator Jamie Elizondo. “There’s things he needs to work on, but I was proud of that first drive when he stepped in.”

In his first series, Davis drove the Redblacks down the field before finding Dominique Rhymes for a five-yard touchdown. He also connected with Julian Feoli-Gudino for the two-point convert.

The Redblacks were equally impressed with the 24-year-old Collins, who they believe has a bright future.

“Danny’s got a ton of talent and he’s going to be a good football player in this league,” said Elizondo. “He’s got to stay within the system a little bit more and not always go for the home-run ball, disperse the ball a little bit quicker with completions and he knows that and he’s going to get better at that.

“He’ll grow from that experience.”

Thursday’s game will be a balancing act for Campbell as he wants to have his veterans ready for the regular season, but at the same time ensure there are no further injuries.

“That’s always the debate when you’re a coach,” he said. “You’re trying to get your team ready to go for the regular season and part of that is playing football.

“So you walk that line of making sure you’re getting the team the reps they need and getting prepared, and at the same time making sure you’re as healthy as you can be going into the first game because it’s a long haul going through an 18-game schedule.”

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