Some numbers are important. Other don’t mean as much.
For the BC Lions, heading into their season-opening CFL game against the Edmonton Eskimos Saturday, a few numbers stand out.
First, there’s six.
The Lions have placed quarterback Travis Lulay, who is still recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, on the six-game injured list. That means Lulay might not play until BC’s Aug. 8 game against Hamilton in Week 7.
“We have to wait and see exactly what the recovery is,” said head coach Mike Benevides. “He is progressing.
“Right now we are going through the process and will see how it goes. It’s just the smartest thing for us to do right now.”
Another number for the Lions is 14. That’s how many new or different faces are on the roster for the opening game.
Considering the Lulay situation, the most important acquisition was acquiring veteran quarterback Kevin Glenn from the Ottawa REDBLACKS for their fifth overall pick in the CFL draft. Glenn will start against Edmonton.
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“That was a huge trade for us,” said Benevides.
Glenn has quickly adapted to the Lions and looked comfortable playing in BC’s 37-13 exhibition win over the Calgary Stampeders last week. Playing just part of the game Glenn completed 17 of 21 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown.
“I’m excited about the opportunity,” said the 13-year veteran.
“It’s been a long off-season for me, not knowing what was going to happen. Now I know what’s going to happen, I’m anxious to get back on the field.”
Another number the Lions have been thinking about is 154. That’s how many combined yards running back Stefan Logan collected against the Stampeders.
To accumulate that many yards in a game is great. To do it in one quarter is incredible.
“Any time I touch the ball I want to do all I can to help us win,” said Logan, whose eye-popping first quarter included a 93-yard punt return for a touchdown. “I’m all about winning. I’m all about team.”
Logan will play an important role if the Lions hope to appear in November’s Grey Cup game at BC Place.
In his three games for BC last season, after returning from a four-year stint in the NFL, Logan averaged 7.2 yards a carry. He also helped a stumbling Lions running attack find its legs.
“He took a group of guys that was maybe struggling to find themselves...he brought them together as a group,” said Kelly Bates, BC’s running backs coach.
“By the end of the year those guys were the tightest group I have seen.”
One number Logan doesn’t pay much attention to is his age. His birth certificate says he’s 33 years old, but he looks and plays like someone much younger.
“I look at 33 as a number, I don’t look at it as an age,” said the Tampa native. “When you look at it as an age it will distract you.
“If you keep telling yourself ‘I’m getting old’ you are going to start playing like you are old. Me, I’m 33 but I’m 27 or 28 on the field. I count on my ability and I count on God blessing me to keep me going each day, to stay focused and work hard every day in practice and bring it to the field on game day.”
Andrew Harris, who rushed for 998 yards last season, said having Logan in training camp this year has sharpened BC’s two-pronged running attack.
“We are building off each other,” said Harris. “I am taking his experience and his knowledge of football.
“It’s a give and take. We are both excited to be in the backfield together. There is no selfishness.”
A couple of factors have contributed to Logan’s longevity. He spent most of his time in the NFL returning kickoffs.
“It’s probably not the same pounding he’d take as a starting tailback,” said Bates, who was Logan’s left guard back in 2008 with the Lions. “You have to look at him. He keeps himself in great shape.
“He trains right. He does all the things he’s supposed to do right.”
Logan’s style is another factor. Some backs use their size and power to run over people.
“I’m not that kind of back,” he said. “If I have to get the positive yards, the tough yards, then I’m all about it.”
The five-foot-six, 180-pound Logan uses speed and agility to leave tacklers grasping at air.
“If I’ve got to be shifty to try to make guys miss, that is part of my game,” he said. “You don’t want to be one dimensional. You want to be able to go downhill. You also want to be able to get outside and make a couple of shakes.”
From the coaching staff to the players, the Lions underwent a lot of changes during off-season.
Khari Jones is offensive co-ordinator and quarterbacks coach, replacing Jacques Chapdelaine. That means the offensive is adapting to Jones’ new system.
On defence, Mark Washington was promoted to defensive coordinator when the Lions released Rich Stubler. Former Lions quarterback Joe Paopao is back as a receivers coach.
One of the early tests for the Lions will be the left side of their offensive line, rebuilt following the retirements of tackle Ben Archibald and guard Patrick Kabongo. The Lions will start the season with Andre Ramsey at left tackle and T-Dre Player at guard, both rookies.
One number Benevides wants to improve on this year is 0. That’s how many playoff games the Lions have won since he became coach three years ago.
Benevides believes this team can change that.
“I like the speed, I like the attitude, the work ethic,” he said. “I feel very good about where we are in terms of building our roster.
“It’s a really exciting group and a group that has meshed quickly together.”