Where are they Now - Riley Roy
by Randy Pascal
Many a Sudbury and area footballer, far more physically imposing than Riley Roy, have ventured off to OUA training camps, only to struggle
mightily with trying to find playing time.
In that sense alone, the fact that the 6’1” 160 pound graduate of Lockerby Composite has seen time in the defensive secondary of the Waterloo
Warriors, in this, his rookie campaign, is noteworthy.
Yes, the fact that he is at the home of the 0-7 Warriors certainly helps. There are substantially more difficult lineups to crack across the province.
But for an undersized 18 year old, who only picked up the sport of football in high school, and realized that post-secondary opportunities might exist a
couple of years later, playing time is playing time, regardless of the location.
“I have pretty much been the smallest player, at least of the ones that are actually playing, on every team that I have ever been on – and I’m
definitely the smallest player here,” said Roy. “I really try and focus on the mental game.”
“I make sure I know every play, where I am supposed to be, when I am supposed to be there. I know what the guy beside me is doing. I try and focus on
who I am lined up against, what his strengths are, and what his weaknesses are, where I can capitalize on him.”
“More than likely, he’s going to be bigger than me, but I am going to outwork and outsmart him.” And while these statements might provide a sense of an
athlete that oozes of self-confidence, Roy was nothing if not supremely grounded as the tackled the challenge of his first university training camp just a
few months ago.
“Realistic expectations, I came into training camp thinking, “I am the smallest guy here – this is going to be hell,” acknowledged Roy. “Training camp
was hard. We did a lot of running, a lot of hitting, my body was beat up.” But Roy stuck it out, with a break quickly coming his way.
“In week three, both of our starting corners got hurt, so that was the first week I had a chance to dress,” he stated. Lest that accomplishment go to
his head, game action was there to provide a humbling reminder of just how far he still had to go.
A mistake by a fellow corner required a quick visit with the coaching staff, giving grounds for inserting Roy for a single play. Opposite the shaking
freshman, 6’3” 220 pound CIS 1st team all-Canadian wide receiver George Johnson of Western.
“He’s just a monster,” suggested Roy. “I didn’t know what to think.” Thankfully, a running play was called, and the Lively native survived. By the
fourth quarter, however, Roy would play a full fifteen minutes at cornerback, a stretch that he duplicated a few weeks later, in his third OUA game.
Very gradually, things are settling down. “It’s still a huge adjustment,” said Roy. “But coverage-wise, we run a good system here, and it’s similar to
the system we played in high school and in summer ball with the Gladiators.”
“I’m fitting well into the system, and getting a lot more comfortable than I was, especially in that first game.”