Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Ticats' Isaac can't wait to unload on Riders

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HAMILTON, Ont. -- Brandon Isaac will make his Hamilton Tiger-Cats debut with a huge chip on his shoulder.

The veteran linebacker will be in Hamilton's lineup today versus the Saskatchewan Roughriders (4-0) in Guelph, Ont. The game will be a shot at redemption for the Ticats after losing a lopsided 37-0 road decision to the Riders last Sunday, but for Isaac it's a much-needed chance to take out his frustration at being released Tuesday by the Toronto Argonauts.

"I know I'm going to be pissed off," Isaac said Friday. "I don't like the situation I'm in. However, I'm learning to deal with it.

"I don't want to talk about it because it's not going to make the situation any better. Good luck to them... it is what it is. A lot of people don't know what it is; I kind of still don't know what it is, but at the same time ,they released me, I'm a Ticat, I'm happy to be here and I can't wait... to get some of this frustration off my chest."

Isaac, 28, helped Toronto win the 100th Grey Cup last November and was named a team captain heading into the 2013 campaign. He had 16 tackles and one sack in four games before being surprisingly cut four days after the Argos' 35-19 road win in Winnipeg.

Isaac won't be the only one making a debut Saturday. Slotback Dave Stala, 33, entering his 11th CFL season, comes off the nine-game injured list to play after undergoing off-season knee surgery.

"The surgery wasn't as bad as I thought and I healed quicker than I thought," Stala said. "I'm pretty excited, because I mean Saskatchewan is 4-0 now, so they've got the bull's-eye on them."

Unclear

It's unclear which quarterback Hamilton's defence will face. Starter Darian Durant, who passed for 347 yards and four TDs last week, is a game-time decision with a foot injury. If Durant can't play, sophomore Drew Willy would make his second career CFL start.

But what Isaac and the Ticats know for sure is a key cog in Saskatchewan's offence is running back Kory Sheets, the CFL rushing leader with 572 yards who ran for 130 yards last week.

Sheets' rushing total is the highest ever through four games to start a season. He needs just 75 yards to break the league mark for five games of 646 yards set in '75 by Calgary's Willie Burden. "The key to this team is the running back," Isaac said. "They're a team that runs the ball a lot and once you get the running game going then you can do anything.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 27, 2013 C2

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