‘It’s a reset mindset’: Riders’ Duke Williams ready to put on a ‘show’ against Alouettes, Najee Murray after blowout loss

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Saskatchewan receiver Duke Williams is ready to put on a “show” during Saturday’s home game against the Montreal Alouettes after the Roughriders suffered a 37-13 loss last week.

“Duke knows that he hasn’t given his best, what he believes he is. That’s exciting for me as a quarterback to hear your top receiver say he’s going to put on a show,” said Cody Fajardo.

The six-foot-three, 225-pound target had four receptions for 101 yards and one touchdown in Week 3 and wants to show the Als defence what he is capable of, particularly cover man Najee Murray who knocked down a Fajardo pass that was coming for Williams during the fourth quarter. 

“I hold myself to a higher standard, the ball in the end zone, the one that he knocked out of my hands, I come down with those. He made a good play, he gets paid just as much as I get paid, not as much money, but you know what I’m saying,” said Williams. 

Williams joined the Riders in October, playing four games with the team last season. In February, he signed a one-year contract extension worth $260,000 which made him the second highest-paid non-quarterback in the CFL. Murray signed a two-year contract extension in December worth $87,000 in hard money for the 2021 season. 

“He competed and he knew he was going against me. He knew what type of receiver I was, so that’s good on his part. He played a good defensive game, but this week, I hope he brings the same intensity because I know mine’s going to be as high as ever,” said Williams. 

After the Week 3 match-up in Montreal, Williams told the media he expected more from himself and even went as far as stating he “played a bad game.” After time watching the film he holds the same stance entering Week 4. 

“I got a lot on my chest and they gotta see that,” continued Williams. “I’m gonna let it all out come Saturday, I’m gonna bring that dog out — everybody ain’t dogs but I’m one of them.”

Williams has made nine receptions for 159 yards and one touchdown this season after playing in two games. The 29-year-old was sidelined for Week 2 against the Elks due to an ankle injury. He is still dealing with the issue, but has a high tolerance for pain and is willing to push through to help his team.

“I’m not going to sit out because of an ankle injury and it’s not that bad,” said Williams. “I just put it in my head: ‘You can do it.’ Grind each play and be out there. I rehab each and every day and whatever my ankle can put me through I’ll allow it.”

Williams wants to help his fellow receivers with veteran playmaker Shaq Evans going down after suffering a fractured ankle in the first quarter against Montreal. The Riders have depth for a pass catcher to fill in during Evans’ absence, but the group is green.

“I have to step up even more as a leader and that’s what I’m gonna do. By us having young guys, I just want to make sure they’re not thinking too much and just playing fast, I told them whatever they need, just come to me and I’ll help them out,” said Williams. 

“Even when we are out there we communicate a lot so it shouldn’t be any messed up plays, but if it do, I told them ‘reset mindset’ and that’s big on where we’re at. As long as you can reset when you mess up and come back and get the next play, then you did something right.”

The eyes of Rider Nation will be on Williams and the rest of the Riders to see if Saskatchewan can redeem themselves in Week 4.