Saskatchewan Roughriders starting quarterback Zach Collaros admitted that Thursday’s season opener against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats will be an important game.

"'I'd be lying to you if there wasn't some kind of significance, I have like 40 to 45 people coming to the game. A lot of close friends still playing or within the organization,” he said.

Collaros was with the Tiger-Cats for four seasons and missed as many games near the beginning of last season, two of which were against his former team.

He lives north of Toronto in the off-season, and said many of his former Hamilton teammates attended his wedding this year. He understands what he’s up against on Thursday.

“They’ve got a lot of guys coming back, a lot of really good football players offensively and defensively,” Collaros said. “A hell of a coaching staff, guys that I've come up with in this league and learned a lot of football from.”

He’ll be playing a defense he practiced against for four years.

"Me and Simoni used to always yell back and forth at each other in practice,” he said. “It'll be fun to be on the other side of him for sure.”

Collaros threw two touchdowns in 30 minutes of pre-season action, which he only did once in a full game last year.

“You have to continue to build that chemistry every single rep you get,” Collaros said. “They have to trust in me, I have to trust in them. You do that with more repetitions and more plays, calls and doing it the right way. I love those guys, those guys work their butts off and they're going to continue to get better just like myself.”