Trevor Harris travelling but not dressing, Mason Fine starts Riders’ final preseason game

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Veteran quarterback Trevor Harris makes the trip to Edmonton for the Roughriders’ second and final preseason game but he won’t be dressed for Saskatchewan.

The soon-to-be 38-year-old returned to action on Monday at Mosaic Stadium, completing 7-of-9 passes for 123 yards with no touchdown or interceptions during a 25-12 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He missed the majority of the 2023 season after suffering a tibial plateau fracture in Week 6.

“Leader,” head coach Corey Mace said when asked what Harris’ decision to travel despite not playing said about him. “To be able to be an extra coach on the field and allowing these quarterbacks to push to be as successful as possible, that’s what I love about Trevor.”

Backup Mason Fine draws the start for the Riders after seeing limited action in the first preseason game while not attempting a pass due to a minor injury issue. Shea Patterson, rookie Jack Coan and Antonio Pipkin are expected to see the field at Commonwealth Stadium.

“Taking into account Mason’s (opportunity) got cut short, we’ll make sure he gets a healthy dose,” Mace said. “Every quarterback that’s going to be dressing will see some snaps, no doubt.”

It’s an important start for Fine who is trying to solidify the backup QB job behind Harris. The 27-year-old has been with the Green and White since 2021, but he’s being pushed by Patterson for the No. 2 role.

“You go out there and do your job. Nothing is solidified yet, you gotta go out there, perform, execute and play within the offence. Don’t try to press, that’s what a lot of guys do when it’s getting to this time. Make sure my eyes and feet are sharp, make the right reads, throw accurate balls, and move the ball up and down,” Fine said.

“The physical aspect, you gotta make sure that you’re available. The mental, you don’t get a lot of reps as QB2, so whenever they call you have to be ready and execute the offence at a high level. I’m excited to get out there play loose, play free, don’t put too much pressure on myself.”

Some veteran players and starters such as A.J. Ouellette, Shawn Bane Jr., Kian Schaffer-Baker, Malik Carney, Anthony Lanier II, Micah Johnson, Jameer Thurman, Rolan Milligan, Amari Henderson and Mario Alford won’t play in the Alberta capital. That provides increased reps for players trying to earn roster spots with the Riders.

“It is an opportunity for guys to prove they deserve to be a part of this team. There are a lot of close battles that as coaches we’ll keep an eye on. At some different positions, there are opportunities for guys to solidify themselves,” Mace said.

“Make us stand on the table for you. We believe in these guys that are here, they’re here for a reason, but the reality of the business is we can’t keep everybody. Make the decision hard on us. You know everything that we are trying to be, be that.”

The Riders kick off against the Elks on Saturday, May 25 at 4:00 p.m. ET. The preseason game can be viewed for free online on CFL+.

Graphic courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders
Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.