Front and centre

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:28 AM ET

EDMONTON - After going through the entire 2009 season without losing a single play to injury, the Edmonton Eskimos offensive line couldn’t even make it out of the preseason this year.

Starting centre Aaron Fiacconi returned to practice for the first time since having a teammate roll on the back of his leg in training camp.

“(Wednesday), we just wanted to see how it went and coach told me to be careful and do as much as I can and I ended up doing everything,” said the six-foot-three, 319-pound veteran entering his ninth CFL season.

‘Good to be back’

“It’s just good to be back in there beside Kyle (Koch) and Pat (Kabongo). It feels like it’s been forever.”

That’s probably because he missed both preseason games and the last time he played was in the 2009 West Division semifinal. But it looks like they might have used up all their luck.

“It had to happen to somebody, I was thinking after awhile and sure enough I was the odd man out there,” Fiacconi said.

“The best part about it is I don’t think we did because it happened so early —right in the middle of training camp — instead of happening in a game and missing a few weeks. I just happened to miss last week and Kyle did a good job in there.”

Koch moved from left guard to centre, while Greg Wojt made his CFL debut Sunday.

“I love Greg Wojt, he went in there and played well in his first start,” Fiacconi said of the six-foot-four, 302-pound Central Michigan product.

“The kid’s going to be a player in this league.”

Fiacconi’s return to practice unshuffles the deck.

““I felt a little sense of confidence, we’re all kind of getting back to where we were playing last year and it’s going to be a big boost for us this week, I hope,” he said.

“When you lose a bit of that chemistry, it definitely alters what you’re capable of doing on the field. Hopefully we have it back.”

Tough to watch

The loss to the B.C. Lions in the season opener was a rough one to watch from the sidelines.

“Seeing my boys out there battling and me not out there with them, it was tough,” he said about the season opening loss. “We want to win a Grey Cup here and championship teams start strong and finish stronger. We just didn’t’ get off to the right start. We’ve got to find ways to win football games and we were in that game for the most part. We’ve just got to come out on top.

“I noticed the guys out there (Wednesday) on the field, we took it up a notch. We understand that we can’t give games away, especially if you want to host a playoff game, be in the Grey Cup and hold onto your locker-room throughout the playoffs. That is a wake-up call and it seems to have hit.”

And not a moment too soon, with the defending champs up next.

“Montreal’s a good team, it’s going to be a challenge,” Fiacconi said. “We have to rise to the occasion.”

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


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