Bennett holds unique position with the Roughriders
Saskatchewan Roughriders helmet (Twitter/@sskroughriders)
As a special Quarterback listed as the third pivot on the Saskatchewan Roughriders depth chart, Bryan Bennett doesn’t see much action behind center. He's has gotten into the game plenty as a special teams player.
As a result, he’s been to twice as many meetings as anybody else on the roster.
“I just try and be all in or each one. I know it’s kind of tough, I have a little bit of double duty,” he said
All the meetings and hard work paid off last week, when his number was called, and Bennett ran in his first Canadian Football League touchdown.
“That was the first of my career. I’ve been up in the CFL for four years now and finally got a shot to go in and score. It was awesome,”
Starting Quarterback Cody Fajardo empathizes with Bennett, as Fajardo once found himself in that third string position, also playing special teams. The starter celebrated with Bennett enthusiastically,
“I jogged out on the field and celebrated with him. I know it meant a lot to him just to actually be in the Quarterback position, as opposed to a punt team or running off a kickoff,” Fajardo said.
Bennett’s desire to contribute on special teams began when he was with the Oregon Ducks. He was a starter, but then lost the number one position to future Heisman winner, Marcus Mariota.
“I got to the point there where I was like, I’m tired of sitting around and watching when I feel like I can contribute,” Bennett said.
Bennett transferred to Southeastern Louisiana where he became a star quarterback. This September, the 27 year-old was inducted into their Hall of Fame. The quarterback was also a standout in High School in California, and Riders linebacker Cameron Judge knew of Bennett’s reputation as a teenager.
“I’ve been watching Bryan play since I was a freshman in High School. I’ve known about his athletic ability.”
Since joining the CFL, Bennett has always contributed on special teams, beginning last year when he signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Head Coach and Special Teams Coach Craig Dickenson used Bennett on a trick play this season, and it resulted in a Riders first down. As for tackles, Bennett has just two, but knows given his experience at the position, it won’t always be about the numbers.
“Lots of these guys that are on teams played defense their whole lives,”
Fajardo called Bennett, “a guy who doesn’t get as much credit as he deserves.”
“That’s the kind of guy we like to have around. Guys that are willing to do whatever you ask of them to help the team. (Bennett) is an example of that,” Dickenson said.
Bennett might not get to throw any footballs on Saturday, but he’ll still make an impact on the field against the Bombers. Kickoff is at 5 p.m.