Roberts feels good about O-line

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:40 AM ET

This could be the game in which Charles Roberts breaks out.

It could also be the week that the Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back and avid golfer wins the lottery and shoots 67 at a local golf course.

"I certainly hope it's the week, man," Roberts said yesterday. "I feel real good about the game plan, I feel real good about my body and how my legs feel."

Winnipeg's offensive line struggles, however, are a big reason why Roberts is averaging an abysmal 2.6 yards per carry -- and a grand total of 46 yards -- through the first two games of the CFL season.

In an attempt to rectify the problem, head coach Jim Daley has changed both tackle positions for tonight's game against the Calgary Stampeders.

Dan Goodspeed is in for the injured Jermese Jones at left tackle, while John Feugill has pushed Dave Mudge to a backup role at right tackle.

"(Goodspeed) is not a man who's gonna come in and play without you seeing how physical and tough he is," Daley said.

Roberts, who has rushed for more than 1,500 yards the last two seasons, liked what he saw at practice this week.

MORE FOCUSED

"I feel like the guys are more focused and more assignment-sound and doing a better job of communicating this week in practice than they have been in prior weeks," Roberts said. "That's another reason why I feel good about (tonight). My body feels well, but I also feel like the line is prepared to play."

Daley isn't making any promises about his new-look O-line. That's probably a smart move on his part.

"Change is a hard thing to incorporate and do, but there's times when you reluctantly -- or sometimes less reluctantly -- have to make a change, and you hope it's a good one," he said. "But you don't know until people play."

Goodspeed plays with an edge and is known to be a strong run blocker. Feugill's specialty, meanwhile, is pass blocking.

Roberts has shown no ill will toward the hogs, noting how difficult it is for five men to be on the same page at the same time.

"The line was good how it was," he said. "The changes will make the line better.

"It just takes time for them to play together and be able to talk to each other and be able to know each other."

Besides being the heart and soul of the offence, there are several more reasons why Roberts needs to pick up seven or eight yards on first down instead of two or three.

"It helps take the onus off the quarterback (Tee Martin) playing his second game in three years," Daley said.

In addition, star receiver Milt Stegall will miss the game with post-concussion syndrome.

"The injury to Milt can't make it much more urgent," Daley said. "It's already at that type of level."


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