EDMONTON - Ricky Ray is going to play.
The Edmonton Eskimos top quarterback will be running his offence in Sunday’s preseason opener against the Calgary Stampeders — part of it, anyway.
“They mentioned that I’m going to play hopefully a quarter,” Ray said following Friday’s practice. “I’ve kind of done both where I haven’t played in the first game and just played in the second game.”
While the second and final preseason matchup will come against the B.C. Lions in Vancouver on June 20, Ray said he’s happy to get a game under his belt before then.
“It’s always weird because you’re going into the second game and you feel like the only guy who hasn’t played yet,” he said. “You’ve got to get your rust off where everybody else has already got their rust off.
“It’s going to be nice just to get out there and get some game-time action and just get the rust off.”
While the Eskimos have been practising on the new turf at Commonwealth Stadium in training camp all week, Sunday will mark the first time the freshly renovated field has held a game.
“That’s the other thing, this is new turf (and I need to) just get used to this a little bit better as well,” Ray said.
But more important than field conditions is getting reacquainted with the speed of the game, taking hits and following different reads in a non-practice environment, said Eskimos head coach Richie Hall.
“There’s game speed and there’s practice speed,” Hall said. “He’s been off for a period of time and you want to get a chance to see him kind of get the cobwebs out. Not an extended period of playing time, but to slowly get him ready then get ready for B.C.
“It’s a new offence even though there are a lot of things that are still the same.”