Expect a secondary makeover

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:02 AM ET

BURLINGTON -- The Eskimos secondary has gone in the blender.

After giving up a 109-yard game-winning touchdown drive to the Toronto Argos last Sunday, the unit will have a new look on Friday in Hamilton. The exact details of that new look, though, are not known as Edmonton has its final full practice today before playing the Tiger-Cats at Ivor Wynne Stadium on Friday (5 p.m. MT, CHED, TSN).

After a two-hour practice in the hot sun at McMaster University's sparkling new Ron Joyce Football Stadium yesterday, the only changes readily apparent are Trey Young becoming the new starting safety with Jason Goss shuffling from that position to a halfback role.

After that, it appears head coach Danny Maciocia and defensive co-ordinator Rick Campbell are auditioning players in other roles.

For example, every healthy defensive backfield body on the 46-man roster - including J.R. LaRose and Bradley Robinson - took reps in yesterday's practice with regular starters in the secondary.

But the apparent move of Young to safety means Goss's four-game trial at that position is over.

A former Calgary Stampeder, Young carries a reputation through the league that has his teammates excited to see what happens Friday night under the lights in Steeltown.

"I think he will do very well. He is a good athlete and a big time hitter," said Edmonton linebacker Siddeeq Shabazz, who - like everyone - has yet to see Young start a game at safety for the Esks.

"I have heard stories of him cracking helmets. So, I am looking forward to seeing it."

Picked up as a free-agent after training camp, Young feels he is ready to read signals coming from the sidelines.

"It is going to be fun," said Young.

Chasing Hamilton pivot Casey Printers - if asked to come on a safety blitz - might not be fun, though.

"I have always considered him the Michael Vick of the CFL," said Young on Printers, a six-foot-two and 216-pound athletic machine.

"The guy has an arm and he can definitely run if he feels the pressure. It definitely is going to be a tough task."

As for Tristan Jackson's role in the secondary, it's very possible he's just a full-time returner Friday.

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Brandon Guillory will play Friday at defensive end, replacing Fred Perry, but it's unclear if he will start in his first game of this season.

It's very possible that Edmonton goes with a three-man rotation of Montez Murphy, Tyler Clutts and Guillory at the two end spots.

As for Perry, he has not been placed on the nine-game injured list - yet.

Maciocia is still waiting for word from Dr. David Reid on Perry's dislocated ankle and broken left leg after Sunday's ugly mishap at Rogers Centre.

If Perry avoids having surgery, there is certainly a chance he can play again this year. The early estimate suggests he will be out of action for eight to 12 weeks. But if the stud lineman has to go under the knife, all bets are off regarding coming back this year, according to Maciocia.

"If he does require surgery, it will be difficult for him to be back (this year)," said the coach.

But Perry's high pain tolerance is still being talked about.

"The doctors were really impressed with him at the hospital," said Maciocia. "He didn't even blink while they were trying to twist some stuff back into place."


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