THE CANADIAN PRESS
(with files from CFL.ca)
WINNIPEG – Anthony Calvillo and the Montreal Alouettes’ motto heading into tonight’s matchup with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers is simple – take care of the ball early.
Because if they don’t, they will not only have to deal with a buzzing Bombers defence but a fired-up home crowd.
“We have to make sure we take care of the ball early and that we put some points up on the board because you know their crowd is going to be loud,'' he predicted.
With close to 30,000 in the stands against the Edmonton Eskimos last week, the roar was deafening.
Conversely, Bombers’ linebacker Jonathan Hefney and his crew will be doing everything they can to disrupt any rhythm gained by the future hall-of-famer.
“We're just going to go out and play hard, go out and try and put pressure on him and try do what we can do with their receivers and we'll see what happens,'' he said this week.
“I feel we didn't put enough pressure on him last time so we're going to work to get that done.''
When the two teams met July 6 in Montreal, the Alouettes put up 14 unanswered points in the first quarter and another 14 in the fourth on the way to a 41-30 victory.
“Get to him as fast as we can. He gets rid of the ball fast, that's why he don't give up a lot of sacks, so we're just going to try to get to him as close as we can.''
The Alouettes are looking to get a win under their belt before heading into the bye week following Friday night`s contest.
“You always want a victory to enjoy that bye week,'' said Calvillo.
“That's the situation we're in now and I'm sure Winnipeg is telling themselves the exact same thing. It'll be a challenge.''
While Winnipeg is coming off a big win, with Calvillo in charge the Bombers know their second win isn't going to be any easier than their first against the Edmonton Eskimos.
Winnipeg's offence will be led for the second time this year by Alex Brink as a starter. Buck Pierce is out with an injured foot.
The 23-22 win the Bombers eked out last week against Edmonton did a lot to lift the team's spirits during practice this week.
It was big for Brink, who tanked during his first start in Toronto the week before when he completed only nine of 34 passes as the Bombers bowed 25-22 to the Argonauts.
“It's definitely a confidence builder. You take your successes and you want to build off them,'' he said this week.
“Guys want to see a quarterback that can lead them to victories.''
He has the CFL's top receiver so far this season – Chris Matthews – and recently returned tailback Chad Simpson to help keep the team on a roll. They had a touchdown each against Edmonton.
Montreal coach Marc Trestman knows Simpson is dangerous.
“We've got to keep an eye on him,'' he says.
“They've been throwing the ball extensively, more than 70 per cent on first down, but the times when he does run he's scary.''
The injury bug continues to bite both teams.
Winnipeg backup running back Nathan Riva and fullback Jordan Matechuk both hurt in practice this week.
That leaves the Bombers fresh out of backup Canadian tailbacks so they dipped into the practice roster for import Will Ford to back starter Simpson. Ford was only signed as a free agent last month.
It means some juggling for coach Paul LaPolice as he adds one import and removes another to keep his ratio in check, in this case linebacker Terrell Parker.
“It tightens your specials teams a little bit but certainly when you've lost three Canadian running backs there's not much you can do,'' he said. “We've made adjustments.''
Ford is happy for the shot and has been taking plenty of first-team reps during practice.
“Yesterday I took all of them so it was a little rough on me but I'm pretty much in tune,'' he said mid-week.
Montreal defensive tackle J.P. Bekasiuk will be lost for at least a month with a knee injury and kick returner Trent Guy is out with a rib injury. Victor Anderson and Bo Bowling will handle return chores.
“He said he would be hurting the team if he had to play,'' Trestman said of Guy.
“With the bye week, hopefully we'll see him next time around.''
|2||Blue Bombers||DE||Mulumba, Andy|
|3||Alouettes via EDM||LB||Edem, Mike|