Corey Mace undecided on who will be Saskatchewan Roughriders’ backup QB

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If Saskatchewan Roughriders’ head coach Corey Mace has decided who will be his team’s backup quarterback this season, he’s not yet willing to share it publicly.

“Things are still rolling, they’re making it tough on us,” Mace told the media in Regina. “They’re competing their tails off — some good, some bad, which you expect at any position — but we’ll continue to keep a close eye as these guys go forward.”

Mason Fine, the club’s incumbent backup, has received strong competition in training camp from Shea Patterson, who filled the third-sting role last season following a season-ending injury to Trevor Harris.

Patterson played in Saskatchewan’s two preseason games and completed eight-of-eleven pass attempts for 132 yards and one touchdown, a 38-yard strike to Ajou Ajou. The former University of Michigan standout, who has previously had stints in the NFL, CFL, and UFL, also ran the ball three times for 17 yards.

Fine completed nine-of-eleven pass attempts for 75 yards and one touchdown against Edmonton, hitting Dohnte Meyers for a four-yard score. The 27-year-old didn’t register any statistics during the club’s first preseason game against Winnipeg as he was quickly pulled due to precautionary reasons.

Veteran journeyman Antonio Pipkin remains on Saskatchewan’s roster, though all four of his preseason pass attempts fell incomplete. Jack Coan, a rookie out of Notre Dame, also saw action during the preseason, completing seven-of-eleven pass attempts for 43 yards.

Some pundits feel Patterson is the best choice to serve as the primary backup to Trevor Harris, citing his athleticism and willingness to push the ball down the field.

Fine, who is entering his fourth CFL season, was first to replace Harris last season and went 1-3 as a starter, completing 69.1 percent of his passes for 1,043 yards, three touchdowns, and five interceptions. He was subsequently replaced by Jake Dolegala, who made nine consecutive starts to end the season before signing with the B.C. Lions in free agency.

The Riders are the only team in the CFL that’s completed their preseason schedule as the league’s other eight teams will play on Friday, May 31. In a way, Mace welcomes the chance to continue practicing despite not having another preseason game to prepare for, suggesting it provides an extra challenge for players.

“Usually, people’ve got something to look forward to to get them amped up. Well, we’re done, so how are you going to approach each day of practice because this is still training camp, it still counts,” he said.

“You’ve gotta be just as detailed on the playbooks, all the same things we preach. You should come out here and treat each practice like it’s a game, so we’ll be dialed in because nothing’s changing for us as far as coaches’ evaluation.”

Saskatchewan has not released any players since their second preseason game concluded. Teams across the league will need to complete their cutdowns by Saturday, June 1 at 10:00 p.m. local time.