Diedrick a quick study

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:37 AM ET

After running all over the practice field yesterday afternoon, new Edmonton Eskimo running back Dahrran Diedrick believes he can play Sunday against the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Regina.

"I'm ready to play," said the Canadian rusher, who signed a two-year-deal with the Eskimos last week. "It's all up to the coaches obviously.

"But I feel by the end of the week I'll have the offence down enough."

Based on just one practice with his new teammates, head coach Danny Maciocia isn't committing a roster spot to the former University of Nebraska star for Sunday's key western division showdown, but ...

"I would say right now, it's probably - after Day 1 of practice - 60-40 that he'll play," said Maciocia.

"He's got the ability to play at this level; the question is how much (playbook) information can he retain in the next few days.

"He looked pretty good, pretty fluid (at practice). You can tell why he was in the NFL for the last couple of years."

After rushing for more than 2,700 yards at Nebraska, Diedrick decided not to sign with the Eskimos - the team that selected him in the 2002 Canadian college draft - but stay south of the border.

However, he just bounced around NFL camps for two seasons, dressing for only one regular-season game.

With his release from the Washington Redskins this fall, Diedrick finally decided to move north.

If the Jamaica born back is activated for this weekend's tilt, he will not start. Maciocia has already made it clear that Ron McClendon has that role.

"Obviously, that is the way it should be until I get an opportunity to go into games and prove myself," said Diedrick.

"(McClendon) has proved himself already.

"I'll work my way in and make the best of the opportunities I get."

SHORT YARDAGE: If Diedrick comes on the roster, Maciocia will have to remove a Canadian from the 40-man list ... The head coach is still contemplating bringing Sean Fleming back to the roster after consecutive games as a healthy scratch. Fleming punted in practice yesterday and looked sharp kicking field goals. Fleming could be activated as a punter or handle both assignments. If he joins the roster strictly as a punter, rookie Hayden Epstein would continue to handle field goals and a Canadian would have to be removed from a different position ... Although fans have been targeting the offensive line for the Eskimos' woes, Maciocia reiterated after practice there would not be any changes to the starting five this week.


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