Esks itching to begin

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:12 AM ET

EDMONTON - After just facing each other to close out the preseason, the Edmonton Eskimos and B.C. Lions are reloading for something totally different on Sunday.

“It’s a regular-season game. This is where everything starts,” said Eskimos head coach Richie Hall. “It’s live bullets.”

Even though the Eskimos came out on top 36-32, the preseason tilt two weeks ago wasn’t all about winning. But this weekend will be.

“Even though we just faced them, we faced them in a different manner,” Hall said. “We just wanted to see to evaluate players, but now we’re facing them regarding scheme-wise and matchups.

“The packages are extended, everything is at stake. It’s not trying to hold anything back.”

Lions head coach Wally Buono said the preseason game certainly didn’t set the tone for Sunday’s rematch.

“No, not at all,” said the CFL’s all-time win leader. “The games are different, the personnel’s different, the mindset’s different, the coaching’s different, the venue will be different. They’ll be nothing similar other than the fact that the majority of guys will be the same guys.”

Two of those guys will be the starting quarterbacks, who won’t have to share any time with backups this time around.

“It doesn’t set the tone, it’s a prerequisite to the season,” said Lions pivot Casey Printers. “We had the opportunity to go in and do some wonderful things. It started (last Sunday). We can become familiar with what they do and their athletes and how they move, but other than that, we’ve got to play them three or four times this year so it doesn’t matter.”

Printers’s counterpart, Ricky Ray, expects to see more teeth from the Lions defence but is looking for the same result.

“It’s going to be much different here Sunday, they’re going to throw a lot of different things at us,” Ray said. “It’s going to be much more difficult, but we’re still looking for the same execution out there.

“Preseason is a little different, a lot of defences are pretty vanilla. But that’s what you look for, is just going out there and executing and making sure that you’re making good reads, good throws and just getting ready for the regular season.”

While there might not be much correlation between the preseason and league play, Sunday’s season opener not only allows the opportunity for one team to start off well, but is also the first of three meetings between the two scheduled this year.

“Definitely, if we have a lot of success, that can take us into the season on the right foot,” said Lions slotback Geroy Simon. “We want to build that momentum if we can get it, and sustain it. When it comes down to it, we’ve just got to go out and play.

“When we go out and play B.C. Lions football, play fast and play with confidence, we’ll do fine. We’re just trying to start that (now) and carry it on through the season.”

IN AND OUT: MLB Maurice Lloyd (knee) returned to practice after tweaking his injury on Thursday and is expected to play Sunday.

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos