SASKATCHEWAN -- First impressions are supposed to mean a lot. However, that adage may not apply for Saskatchewan Roughriders rookie running back Kory Sheets.
Sheets was recruited by the Riders in the off-season after receiving a call as they looked for players to take over as the team’s starting tailback, but GM Brendan Taman didn’t think Sheets would be that guy after getting a look at him at a mini-camp in the United States.
“Quite frankly, I was pretty down on him,” said Taman with a laugh. “I didn’t think he caught the ball well and I questioned how hard he worked and to be honest with you, I didn’t think he would be our starting tailback. As time progressed though, he really showed me that he did have what it takes at another mini-camp and then he performed well during training camp and the exhibition season. He’s a special athlete. He has a burst that not a lot of people have.”
That burst was on display in the season opener as he carved out a couple of big runs in the season-opening victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Sheets carried the ball 12 times for 80 yards with a touchdown while catching a pair of Darian Durant passes for 43 yards. Sheets was happy with his opening effort, but he says it still is a work in progress for him as far as he is concerned.
|Sheets' Strong Debut|
Kory Sheets wasted little time making his mark in the Saskatchewan offence, rushing for 80 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries and adding another 43 yards receiving last Friday in Hamilton.
"The biggest adjustment I have had to make to the Canadian style of game is the motion,” Sheets said. “When I first got here, it really confused me, but I knew if I was going to stay here that I had to figure it out. I worked hard and asked the questions that had to be asked. I won’t say I have it all under control, but I know a lot more now than I did a few weeks ago and that’s why I’m here.”
Durant was one of the guys that had to teach Sheets about the Canadian game and he believes the 27-year-old is poised to become a household name in a short time.
“Early on in camp, he had some problems, but he asked questions about our system and where he had to be and what he had to do.” Durant said. “He has showed us that he’s a great all-around back with deceptive speed. He definitely brings an extra spark to this offence and he gives us a nice weapon.”
Sheets doesn’t have any goals set for himself for the upcoming season and that includes using the CFL as a stepping stone to getting back into the NFL.
“I’m just doing what I have to do to be successful in the CFL.” Sheets said. “I’m not even thinking about the NFL right now, I’m just thinking about what I have to do to make the Saskatchewan Roughriders successful.”
Sheets will get a chance to try and duplicate his season-opening performance Sunday afternoon when the Edmonton Eskimos pay a visit to Mosaic Stadium for the Roughriders home-opener. Game time between the two West Division rivals is 5:00 PM.