Lions in tough against former mate
By Hosea Cheung, QMI Agency
|Calgary Stampeders quarterback Henry Burris is tackled by BC Lions' Solomon Elimimian as he makes a first down. (REUTERS/Todd Korol)
Edmonton Eskimos running back Jerome Messam may be coming off a career week, but B.C. linebacker Solomon Elimimian feels the Lions have an advantage in trying to slow him down.
The Lions are quite familiar with Messam, a second-year CFL player who moved to Edmonton from B.C. in June.
"We still have to be physical (against him)," Elimimian said of the 26-year-old. "It's not just me versus Jerome. It's our defensive front versus their offensive line so it's going to be a team effort; not just to stop Jerome but whoever they got back there."
The Lions (0-2) face the Eskimos (2-0) Saturday in Edmonton.
The B.C. defence is tasked with keying on Messam, a tailback who had 17 carries for 104 yards and two touchdowns against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last Saturday.
In turn, Messam will face the team that sent him packing. Messam, who had 23 carries and 92 yards for B.C. last season,
pleaded guilty to assault earlier this year, stemming from an incident at a London, Ont., nightclub in 2010.
"Hopefully for his sake he learns, and obviously at this point, he has done a very good job of being a football player," Lions coach Wally Buono said. "Jerome was a guy that we all had high expectations for."
Unfortunately for the Lions, Messam is starting to reach those expectations with another team, having rushed for 141 yards so far and having been named the CFL's Canadian Player of the Week for Week 2.
But it's not just Messam the Lions have to worry about, considering the Eskimos, led by quarterback Ricky Ray, are the highest-scoring team in the CFL.
"They have an awesome offence, so it's going to be hard to stop them ... we have our work cut out for us," defensive tackle Aaron Hunt said. "Stop Ricky Ray, you stop everybody."
Elimimian said the defence hopes to finally find some consistency.
"When we're on point and when we're doing the things we do well defensively, there's no offence in the league that can match," Elimimian said. "We just have to visualize those times when we're playing good and maintain that no matter the situation. That's something we have to do for the whole game."
As for the Lions offence, they are looking to do a better job with their own running game, one that, with the exception of quarterback Travis Lulay, rushed for just 14 yards last week. Running back Jamal Robertson had a paltry three carries for one yard.
"We haven't done the job that we'd hoped to do to this point, so (the run game) is another point of emphasis," Lulay said. "We've been critical of it from within and we know we need to get better moving forward."