Ricky Ray 'pretty sore' after big win

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:48 PM ET

Ricky Ray was hurting Sunday.

“I’m pretty sore,” he admitted. “I feel like I rushed for 400 yards.”

The quarterback turned improv running back hoofed for a personal record 135 yards to lead Edmonton to a 31-28 overtime victory over the B.C. Lions Saturday night in Vancouver.

“I’m used to taking some hits, but I took some real good hits doing all that running. I can’t imagine doing that every game,” said the pivot who has amazed defensive players for years with the way he’s been able to take a licking and keep on ticking.

“I can see how the careers of running backs aren’t as long as the players who play some other positions.”

Ray said his reputation of not in any way, shape or form being a running quarterback wasn’t an eight-season-in-the-making rope-a-dope routine saved for the moment the Eskimos needed it most. But it sort of worked that way.

“I’m convinced the Lions came into the game saying ‘He’s not a running quarterback’,” said Ray.

“I’m convinced they told themselves ‘Hey, we’re not playing Henry Burris orDarian Durant’,” he said of quarterbacks who have been known to enjoy taking a hike.

“It’s not like we saw something on the game films and had it in the game plan that I was going to run for over 100 yards this week. Only one of my runs was a designed play, a quarterback draw.

“And I’m not a runner. They had three streakers out there who were better runners than me,” said Ray who was pretty impressed with one of the bare naked talents in particular, a guy who outran security for 110-yards.

“That guy was a lot faster than me. If he’d played quarterback, he’d have had 200 yards,” he laughed. “I’m a pocket passer. Every now and then I’ll pick up a first down here and there with a run.

“And I’m sure that’s what they were telling themselves. I think they kept on doing the same thing saying ‘He’s not going to do it again.’ “

Ray kept doing it again and again and again.

“They didn’t have any contain out there. Their ends were crashing down.”

He said it was all reading it, calling a running play and taking advantage of the Lions refusing to make the adjustment and going for another run.

“We just kept on doing it and they kept on doing the same thing.”

It was a rare occasion in which the Eskimos looked like the better-coached team in a game this year.

And if you don’t think a professional positional coaching star was born here with the move to replace Jeff Bleamer at mid-season with ex-Eskimo Tim Prinsen taking over coaching the offensive line, think again.

Ray makes the point that the so called skill position players always get the glory as he and 171-yard rusher Daniel Porter are today. But it doesn’t happen if the offensive line doesn’t make it happen up front. This was a game and this is a season which totally illustrates that.

“The offensive line did an awesome job,” said the quarterback. “Anytime you can get the running back to the line without any penetration, you’re doing an awesome job.

“Our offensive line took a tonne of criticism this year but since Tim has taken over, and after a little time for them to learn his technique and schemes, you can see those guys are on the same page now and are playing with confidence.”

And Rickey Ray has turned into a 12-carry, 135-yard-a-game running back.

“Those numbers are going to remain as career highs,” he joked of his rushing total which was only four yards less than his passing total.

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


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