Bombers look to snap Lions streak
Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice will hope to find innovative ways to score TDs against the stingy Lions. (JASON HALSTEAD/QMI Agency)
So how do you prepare to face a defence that hasn’t given up a touchdown in three games?
It’s easy, either you shudder in fear or, in the case of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, you draw up a game plan that just might help you become the team to snap the impressive streak.
“The competitive side of you says ‘Hey, here’s what we’re going to do to score and here’s a couple things we think are really good,’” said Blue Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice. “Here’s how we can face these guys.”
The Blue Bombers’ offensive line is coming off its best game of the season, but are about to face a stiffer test, going up against the likes of CFL sack leader Keron Williams.
“They always bring a good game, so you have to rise to their level and make sure that you’re prepared,” said Blue Bombers offensive tackle Glenn January. “I feel like every game starts with the hogs. It’s on us to get the running game, it’s on us to make sure that Joey (Elliott) is protected and comfortable back there in the pocket. It’s not a job that comes with a lot of notice or praise, but it is one that’s necessary.
“We didn’t play them the last three weeks, so (the touchdown-free streak) doesn’t really apply to us.”
It sounds like Lions running back Andrew Harris is ready for his homecoming, one that will include his first start at Canad Inns Stadium.
“He was one of the best-dressed guys on the plane,” said Benevides.
“He’s excited about this game. He’s coming back home, he’s fired up and it will be interesting to see how he handles the game.”
Harris, in his first full season as the starting tailback, is enjoying a breakout campaign. He’s currently second in yards from scrimmage with 732 and fifth in the CFL in rushing with 430 — leaving his stated goal of 1,000 yards on the ground well within reach.
“(Harris) has been phenomenal,” said Benevides, whose team leads the CFL in rushing yards. “He runs the ball, he catches the ball and he’s gotten a lot of attention the last couple of weeks, just because of the start he’s (had). He’s getting better every week and taking the right approach.”
Lions quarterback Travis Lulay isn’t surprised to see Harris succeeding.
“Andrew’s played great, he really has,” said Lulay. “He’s a guy that really works and one thing that separates him from a lot of younger players is that he’s mature beyond his years probably, in terms of football smarts.
“He has a good knack for some things that are hard to coach and physically, he does surprise some people. He’s fast, he’s strong and he’s got great balance, breaks some tackles and he doesn’t quit.”
The Blue Bombers are officially adding LB Brandon Stewart to the active roster this week after he missed the past five games with a knee injury, while DB Deon Beasley (undisclosed) was moved to the one-game injured list...The expected scratches for the Blue Bombers Friday are LB Jeremy McGee, C Chris Kowalczuk, FB Jordan Matechuk, LB Terrell Parker...The Lions didn’t make any changes to their 46-man roster this week, but are without DT Khalif Mitchell, who is serving the second game of his suspension.
HEFNEY VS. SIMON (from Kirk Penton)
Jonathan Hefney is moving back to halfback this week, and the man he gets to cover is none other than the CFL’s career receiving yards leader.
Hefney will be tasked with stopping Geroy Simon, who passed Milt Stegall as the league’s receiving king when the Bombers and Lions tangled in Week 1 at B.C. Place.
“I follow him on Instagram,” Hefney said. “I love looking at his kids, his family, his son. I wish his son could’ve went to Tennessee. I wonder why Tennessee didn’t recruit him.
“He’s just a good guy all around and a great competitor, so I’m going to have a good time with it.”
Simon’s son, Gervon, accepted a full scholarship to play football at U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., this fall. Hefney won’t be reminding Simon he’s so old he has a son in college.
“You can’t really because he’s too slick,” Hefney said. “You trash talk him and he’s going to give you one of them old school moves.”
Bombers live blog, Friday at 2 p.m.