'Nothing' game means so much

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:20 AM ET

The Renegades and Ticats are getting ready to play a game that has absolutely no bearing on the CFL standings.

Hamilton will finish the season ranked third in the CFL East and have everything booked for the semi-final at SkyDome against the Argos.

The Renegades have been out of the playoff picture for 11 days now, so most players are more concerned about going through the motions and making it through the season without getting hurt.

Yet for a game that in all essence means pretty much nothing, the coaches on either side need to make interesting personnel decisions.

That's what makes Saturday's game at Frank Clair Stadium so important.

Coach Joe Paopao of the Renegades, for example, might need to discuss with his assistants the playing status of linebacker Kelly Wiltshire.

The third-year Renegades linebacker has an injured knee and, according to Paopao, participated in a few plays during Saturday's loss to the Alouettes at the Big O, extending a consecutive games streak to 143 (152 including post-season matches), a significant feat given the violent nature of Wiltshire's position.

Paopao said yesterday that, given the context of Saturday's game, he would consider including Wiltshire on the team's roster for the Hamilton game, even if the player were to request seeing action for a play or two so he could have a chance of prolonging the streak next year.

If the game had any playoff implications, Wiltshire would be sitting.

"I'll consider anything," said Paopao. "But to me, the team has got to be the most important thing."

Wiltshire will likely be on the sidelines during practice for the next three days, as was the case during last week's preparation for the game in Montreal.

"We felt early in the week that he'd be ready to go," said Paopao.

Ticats coach Greg Marshall also needs to make decisions on who gets playing time, and for how long.

QB Danny McManus will likely get some work early in the game, but will likely take a seat to give backup Marcus Brady some time.

Running back Troy Davis, the league leader, is 45 yards shy of breaking the single-season Ticats rushing record.

"We know where (Davis) is at and we'll be aware of it and he deserves it (the record)," Marshall told the Hamilton Spectator. "The way he has played this year and how tough he has run he really deserves it. We'll find a way."

NOTES: The Renegades might dress Kerry Joseph as the No. 3 QB for Saturday's game. "I see him running around (at practice), but I don't see him throwing the football," said Paopao. Joseph suffered a sternum/collar bone injury against Saskatchewan earlier this month and has been out for two games. Brad Banks will start at QB for Ottawa against the Ticats ... Safety Greg Bearman has a knee injury and is questionable for the game. DB Hassan Probherbs could see some action at safety ... FB Mike Maurer is likely out (Achilles tendon), while OT Val St. Germain could return from injury ... The Renegades announced that The Tragically Hip will be the feature act during the Grey Cup halftime show. The anthem will be performed by Ottawa's Keshia Chante, a multi-winner at the recent Urban Music Awards.


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