TORONTO — Tim Burke has all the faith in the world in his starting quarterback, Buck Pierce.
“He is a veteran, and the things you notice in practice like how fast he gets rid of the ball and how quickly he makes his reads,” said Burke on Thursday in Toronto.
“Just the confidence that he has, gives everybody else more confidence,” he added.
Confidence, as it seems, might be the problem facing the Bombers this season.
In the games that Pierce has managed to stay under centre for the entire 60 minutes, the Bombers have appeared to be a much different team.
The scoring seems to come a lot easier than it would otherwise, while the defence feeds off the momentum earned by the offence.
Despite missing his fair share of action this season, Pierce has made it a point to keep being a leadership figure in the Bombers locker room. “I’ve missed quite a few weeks this season, but I haven’t been absent,” said Pierce.
“I’ve been around. I’ve been in with the receivers, in with the offensive lineman, in as many game meetings as possible, so the guys know that I know what’s going on.”
“I’m going to do my best to put them in a positive situation and give us a chance to win the ball game.”
While the Bombers’ playoff hopes are still alive, they can best be described as slim.
As a result of them still being mathematically able to reach the post-season, Burke hopes that his team will continue to plug away on the field and tune out any outside voices that say they should do otherwise.
“I would like to think we played very hard last week,” said Burke of his team’s 32-21 loss to the Calgary Stampeders.
“It’s more of a confidence thing than anything else,” he added.
Pierce reiterated his coach’s sentiment.
“If you look at last week, we were right there with one of the best teams in the league,” he said.
“Nobody quit, nobody gave up, everybody played hard until the final whistle, and that’s our mood right now.”
Entering Friday night’s matchup, the Bombers will be without several key pieces on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.
Receiver Cory Watson and defensive end Alex Hall both discovered this week that their season’s are done, as a result of injuries that refuse to go away.
Pierce says the injury woes present an opportunity for others to step up and make a name for themselves.
“We’re going to have some fresh blood in there this week at some key spots and those guys are going to be going hard,” he said.
“They’re going to be playing hard and are going to be playing to win. And I think that’s the message that can’t get lost.”