Another Stamps game, yet another Bombers QB

Winnipeg Blue Bombers Alex Brink during team practice at Canad Inns Stadium in Winnipeg on Nov. 3,...

Winnipeg Blue Bombers Alex Brink during team practice at Canad Inns Stadium in Winnipeg on Nov. 3, 2011. (QMI Agency)

Ian Busby, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:13 AM ET

This is a CFL meeting between Calgary and Winnipeg, so the Stampeders defence knows what that means.

It is preparing for a different QB from the last time it faced the Blue Bombers.

For the eighth straight time, the Bombers will start a new pivot Saturday from their previous meeting with the Stampeders.

This time, there is an equalizer. Since the start of 2008 when this streak started, the man behind centre for the Stamps was Henry Burris.

On Saturday, in an afternoon tilt (2 p.m., McMahon Stadium) that will help decide playoff seeding in both East and West divisions, Drew Tate will get the ball for the Stamps.

Alex Brink now joins an exclusive list (in order from 2008 to present) of new Bombers pivots: Ryan Dinwiddie, Kevin Glenn, Stefan LeFors, Michael Bishop, Steven Jyles, Joey Elliott and Buck Pierce.

During that run, the Stamps have a 5-2 record.

“That’s a lot of different guys,” Stampeders defensive back Keon Raymond said. “Their strength is their defence. I’m surprised we’ve had as much success against them.

“We’re not playing against their offence really. We’re playing against their defence. If their defence has four turnovers, we have to get five.”

As little as the Stampeders know about Brink, the Bombers could be in the same boat with Tate.

There is a difference, though, for the Bombers defence. Defensive back Jovon Johnson played two years at Iowa when Tate was the star QB there, and he knows the Stampeders pivot well.

Johnson has spent the week giving his teammates pointers on cues that Tate should give off.

“Hopefully, we can take advantage, but he’s going to make some plays,” Johnson said. “He knows where he wants to go with the ball. He’s going to go there with it. He believes in his arm.”

Johnson leads the CFL with seven interceptions this season, and Tate isn’t surprised.

The career leader in picks for the Iowa Hawkeyes has carved out an impressive career in the CFL as a cornerback.

But when he faces Tate for the first time as a starter, Johnson will be lined up at safety due to Ian Logan’s illness.

“He’s a wildcard,” Tate said.

“You don’t know when he will jump things. He’s going to make it hard for us to attack him.

“I’m sure as the game goes on, he will get a feel for me and the receivers. We will try to get a feel for him.”

There is a great deal of mutual respect between Tate and Johnson. When Tate describes the defensive back, he could almost be talking about himself.

The label would be ‘gamer.’

“If he were only taller, he would be drafted in the NFL and still doing something down there,” Tate said about the 5-foot-9 Johnson.

“He’s not a guy who is going to show up and blow you away with testing. He makes his money when he’s on the field playing football.

“There are a lot of guys like that. He’s making the best of his chances now.”

Way back in Week 3, the Stamps edged the Bombers 21-20 in Winnipeg.

Both teams are much different now than they were then.

Pierce and running back Fred Reid were the duo in the Bombers backfield, and now, it’s Brink and Chris Garrett.

The Stamps, at that point, started Burris and Joffrey Reynolds but now have Tate and Jon Cornish in the backfield.

Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice believes the Stamps are much more dangerous offensively now than they were then.

“The thing I see from Drew is he makes off-schedule plays,” LaPolice said. “The players really respond to him. He’s done a great job.

“Cornish is a talented tailback. They’ve been tremendously more explosive than they were. They are a team we have to make one-dimensional.”


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