'Gades strike gold in secondary

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 1:36 PM ET

Times have certainly changed for the Renegades, and nowhere is that more evident than in the defensive secondary.

When the CFL club signed cornerback Crance Clemons in the offseason, it brought back a player who had started building a reputation as the top "cover guy" on the team -- if not one of the best in the league --before leaving for the NFL.

Eight games into the season, Clemons has finally recovered from the knee surgery he underwent in the winter -- and now there's no room for him.

"He's getting closer and closer, he's probably ready to go," coach Joe Paopao said yesterday about the possibility of Clemons playing next Friday in Winnipeg. "But does he go? I don't know. We have a couple of days to think it through.

"It's a good situation to be in. He's got talent, but the unit is playing well. You hate to break up a combination that's 3-0 (in the last three games)."

MOSS ROLLS

Diminuitive import Greg Moss has filled in for Clemons, and he's played so well that it's the guy on the other side (Bo Rogers) who could be in greater danger of losing his job when Clemons returns. But Rogers (interception) and Moss (pass knockdown) both made gigantic plays in the final two minutes to preserve Thursday's 22-17 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Also outstanding was safety Quincy Coleman and defensive back Korey Banks, both of whom had interceptions at key junctures.

Throw in the play of defensive back Sean Weston and it had to be the best all 'round game for the secondary in Renegades history -- which is easier to claim when considering the struggles that plagued Ottawa's pass defenders the first three years of the team's existence.

"We haven't had this luxury before," said Paopao.

The Renegades now get a couple of days off before preparing to visit Winnipeg. A victory would see them reach the midway point of the schedule -- and their bye week -- with a lofty 6-3 record.

"In the history of team sports, teams that have a good record usually have a good defence," said Paopao. "Our defence has kept us in games."

EXTRA POINTS: Kicker Matt Kellett appeared to re-injure the groin that kept him out of the two previous games when he missed his lone field-goal try, a 35 yarder, in the third quarter Thursday. "It's reaggrivated, but not to the point it was at," said Paopao. "It's a day-to-day situation." Mark Irvin remains available as a replacement ... It appears former Boston College QB Paul Peterson will also stay with the Renegades on the practice roster ... Thanks to the success of the team and strong group sales, the Renegades have already sold almost 16,000 tickets for their next home game, which is still three weeks away (Sept.8) against the B.C Lions.

don.brennan@ott.sunpub.com


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