Charles in charge

GERRY PRINCE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:17 AM ET

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have lost only twice when Charles Roberts rushes for 100 or more yards in a game.

Unfortunately for the 0-3 Blue Bombers, the most recent setback on that front came last week versus the Calgary Stampeders.

Following the 21-15 loss to Calgary, the Blue Bombers are 17-2 when Roberts equals or tops the century mark.

You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out if you can stop Roberts, you've got a pretty good shot at winning the football game.

"Obviously, their offence revolves around their tailback," said Edmonton Eskimos rookie head coach Danny Maciocia, whose outfit faces the Bombers at Commonwealth Stadium tonight.

PLENTY OF TOUCHES

"They want him to get his 20 or 25 touches a game," Maciocia said. "If he can get on a bit of a run as far as trying to get five, six or seven yards a carry, chances are they're going to sustain drives.

"If that happens, the time of possession will be in their favour. That's one thing we need to keep an eye on and one thing they feel they need to do a better job of."

However, it's unlikely Roberts will be getting the ball as often as Maciocia suggests tonight, and he's not happy about it.

Keith Stokes has been tabbed to take over at tailback when Roberts comes out of the game.

"That's what it looks like to me," offered Roberts, a double backfield threat by virtue of his ability to catch the ball and make defenders miss in the open field.

"I found out today I'll probably be coming off the field more this week than I have in the past."

When the Esks and Winnipeg clashed at CanadInns Stadium last month, Roberts was limited to 31 yards on 10 carries.

Roberts lugged the ball 21 times versus Calgary and broke a 20-yard run, his longest romp of the season.

"You could see bits and pieces last week when I felt a little more comfortable running behind who I was," said Roberts.

"I thought the guys knew what they were doing last week. We were able to get a guy like (left tackle) Dan Goodspeed in here to help solidify the offensive line."

Among others, it'll be up to veteran Esks outside linebacker Singor Mobley to wrap up Roberts tonight.

"If we can put some hats on him and make him bounce it, I think we have enough team speed to hold him under 100 yards," said Mobley, who dragged Roberts down twice during Edmonton's 27-8 victory in Winnipeg on June 30.

CLOSE GAPS

"He's a good player and the one thing we can't do is have open gaps that he can squeak through. Once he gets into the secondary, that's when he makes things happen.

"I'm not saying our secondary can't tackle, but by the time he gets to the secondary and they're covering receivers, there could be a pretty big gain."


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