Esks McCarty eyes milestones

Edmonton Eskimos running back Calvin McCarty needs just three more rushing yards and 65 receiving...

Edmonton Eskimos running back Calvin McCarty needs just three more rushing yards and 65 receiving yards to reach the 1,000 mark in those categories. (Perry Mah, Edmonton Sun)

Gerry Moddejonge, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:26 PM ET

EDMONTON - As versatile as he is, it should come as no surprise that Calvin McCarty is closing in on a pair of simultaneous career milestones.

The Edmonton Eskimos running back needs just three more rushing yards and 65 receiving yards to reach the 1,000 mark in those categories – both of which could happen Sunday against the Hamilton Tiger-cats.

“I didn’t really know that. That’s pretty big too,” said McCarty. “But I just want to win, really. That’s the main thing for me, is doing whatever it takes to win the game.”

The Canadian running back has played a backup role for the majority of the time he’s been with the Eskimos since 2007, but McCarty now finds himself as the feature feet of their offence.

Make that hands and feet.

Besides his ability to run, McCarty also has hands that can block just as proficiently as they can hang onto passes out of the backfield.

“Being versatile is huge,” he said. “They can’t really sub in a big guy just to stop the run. Maybe they’ve got to keep a smaller DB on the field that you might be able to take advantage of.”

Coming off a week where he ran for 84 yards and two touchdowns, while catching five passes for 34 yards, McCarty was spelled off by import running back Brad Lester, who rushed for 65 yards.

But with Lester out and another rookie, Daniel Porter, in his place, McCarty can expect to shoulder more of the workload.

“I mix in on some big sets too, lining up at tight-end,” McCarty said. “Definitely I’d expect a little bit more.”

He has shown the ability to put together a big game in the past, the challenge now is to show he can play that way consistently.

“It’s an opportunity I’ve been waiting for and it’s another chance to go out here and try to win a game,” he said. “If guys do their job and I do my job, then everything should work out.”

While McCarty is hitting his stride, his counterpart in black and gold is at the top of his game. DeAndra Cobb ran up a 166-yard tab against the Saskatchewan Roughriders last week after earning 151 against the B.C. Lions the week before.

“Watching him last year to this year, he’s a great runner, great blocker, he can come out of the backfield and catch the ball,” said Eskimos middle linebacker Maurice Lloyd. “But you’ve got to get to him before he gets started. There are a lot of good running backs in this league that are good. You can’t really control them, all you can do is contain them.”

Lloyd will get his first chance to put a lid on Cobb Sunday.

“I’ve never played against him,” said Lloyd, who was injured early in the first of two meetings with the Tiger-cats last year. “Watching him, he gets his shoulders square and runs north and south, but it’s a different thing when you’re making hits.”

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


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