Esks shore up at back

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:57 AM ET

The Edmonton Eskimos are running on empty when it comes to fullbacks.

With starter Mathieu Bertrand recovering from getting banged up in last week’s game and two others stuck on the nine-game injured list, the team is going to start running back and utility offensive player Calvin McCarty at the fullback position Saturday.

“We’re beat up right now,” said Bertrand, who didn’t practise Thursday and won’t play Saturday. “I tried to hold the fort as long as I can with the two other injuries. Obviously I had bad luck.”

But with splitting reps at running back with Daniel Porter while Arkee Whitlock is recovering from an ankle injury, McCarty is only a temporary fix at fullback.

“Calvin’s going to be the fullback come Saturday, but Calvin’s also a ball-carrying back,” said Eskimos head coach Richie Hall. “He’s not that blocking back so we need a true fullback.”

The Eskimos claimed non-import fullback Samuel Fournier off the Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ practice roster in time for Thursday’s practice.

Selected in the third round, 19th overall in the 2010 draft, the Quebec native spent the entire season on the Ticats’ practice roster.

“Sam Fournier, we were very much interested in him during the draft,” said Hall. “With the injury to Matty and the injury to Graeme Bell and (Chris) Ciezki, we’re very limited in that position.

“That position has been very beneficial and it’s a very big part of our overall offence so we needed to get a true fullback in here.”

Bertrand already knows his new teammate and fellow alumnus of Laval University.

“I’ve never played with him but I saw him play,” Bertrand said. “He’s a pretty good athlete, a pretty good Canadian player. He didn’t have his chance in Hamilton, hopefully he’ll have a little bit more chance over the next few weeks.

“We needed a physical Canadian player here and I think he’s known for his physical play. The more Canadian talent you can bring here, the better it’s going to be for us in the future.”


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