Kicker can boot into coach's good books

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:55 AM ET

Wally Buono says his decision to keep Duncan O'Mahony as his placekicker today is a prime example of leaving emotion out of coaching decisions.

It's a philosophy that has garnered the B.C. Lions head man much success over his 16-year CFL coaching career.

O'Mahony, who is also the Lions punter, will get a chance to redeem himself this afternoon against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers following his dismal 0-for-3 performance in last Saturday's home loss to Saskatchewan.

Buono brought in kicker Clinton Greathouse last week to challenge O'Mahony, but the latter responded with a 14-for-14 performance at practice on Saturday to keep his job.

"I couldn't honestly make a decision against Duncan," Buono said. "As bad as he kicked in B.C. -- and he kicked bad -- it would have been dishonest of me and it would have been unfair of me to not let him kick."

Buono is famous for cutting quality players who have been with him for significant amounts of time. Buono said if O'Mahony hadn't performed well last week, Greathouse would be kicking field goals today.

"No league discards its great players as easily as we do, and there's reasons for that -- limited rosters, limited amount of money and the tremendous pressure, because everybody wants to win," Buono said.

WHO WILL BLINK FIRST? Bombers RB Charles Roberts is looking forward to facing his old coach, Lions defensive co-ordinator Dave Ritchie.

"I want to see what I can do against his defence," Roberts said. "... For the next two games against him this year, I wanna be able to do something special.

"Not only because it's against him, but just because that's my mentality."

Roberts leads the league with 1,206 rushing yards, but his pre-season goal of 2,000 isn't going to happen.

WARREN WARNING: Bombers head coach Jim Daley figures the Lions will hand the ball to RB Antonio Warren quite a bit today, primarily because rookie QB Buck Pierce is making his first career start in place of Dave Dickenson (concussion).

That's bad news for the Bomber defence, which has allowed a disturbing average of 204 rushing yards over the past four games.

"We need to have a big game from our linebackers, because Antonio Warren will slice you very quickly if you aren't solid in your run defence," Daley said.

NO BACKING DOWN: Bombers DE Tom Canada promises his team won't mail in its performance in the last month of the season.

"Anyone who's got any balls isn't going to just lay down and say, 'Oh, well we're not getting into the playoffs, so screw it,'" he said.

"... We're more dangerous than anybody right now, because even if we're not going to make the playoffs, we can still bump people off and screw around with their records."


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