Stegall wins praise

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:20 AM ET

Tony Tiller might want to stay in bed today.

The B.C. Lions rookie defensive back got torched on the football field Monday, he had his starting job taken away from him Tuesday and Milt Stegall was named the CFL's offensive player of the week yesterday.

Stegall, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers slotback, took poor Tiller to school on Thanksgiving Day, beating him several times and ending up with four catches, 234 yards and four touchdowns in Winnipeg's 44-23 win.

Props for Walls

In other words, Ellison Kelly, the Canadian Football Hall of Famer who picks the players of the week, didn't lose any sleep over his selection.

"When a guy goes out and has four catches for four touchdowns, there isn't too much you can say," said Bombers quarterback Kevin Glenn, who threw a career-high five touchdown passes Monday and was the first runner-up to Stegall.

As for Tiller, he has lost his job to former NFLer Tim Wansley, who is expected to make his CFL debut on Sunday in Montreal.

Kelly also gave props yesterday to Winnipeg rookie defensive end Gavin Walls, who won lineman of the week honours for an impressive third time in 2005.

Walls, a 25-year-old out of Ripley, Miss., had four sacks and three tackles against the Lions, essentially stamping his nomination as Winnipeg's rookie of the year.

Besides Glenn, two more Bombers were recognized yesterday. Centre Aaron Fiacconi was the second runner-up to Walls, and linebacker Neil McKinlay was the second runner-up for special teams player of the week.

REPEAT PERFORMANCE? The Bombers had their best game of the year against the run on Monday, holding the Lions to just 76 rushing yards.

The defence, however, is still the primary bane of this 5-10 team's existence, so it will need to keep it up over the last three games to ward off a complete overhaul by coaches and management in the off-season.

The players, of course, believe the right pieces are already in place.

"It just shows you what ability we do have," rookie defensive back Stanford Samuels said. "Everybody all year has been saying, 'It's the talent. We don't have the talent.' The talent is there."

Added linebacker Lamar McGriggs: "This team is on its way to doing some good things if they keep it together."

Head coach Jim Daley might even be buying what the players are selling.

"Defensively we've been getting better, even though it doesn't necessarily show," Daley said. "We've been getting better, and we had a major transition to make after (defensive co-ordinator) Rod (Rust) left.

"You're trying to teach a defence without a training camp."

Daley said his front four, consisting of Walls, Tom Canada, Joe Fleming and Jon Oosterhuis, played its best game of the season -- or perhaps even the last two seasons -- against the Lions.

LATE HITS: The Bombers return to the practice field today in preparation for Sunday's home game against the Toronto Argonauts (8-6). Winnipeg will be eliminated from playoff contention, however, if Calgary beats Hamilton tomorrow night ... If they all show up, Bombers GM Brendan Taman will have three new players at practice today: WR Michael Coleman, former Ottawa OL Marc Parenteau and a defensive back ... Rona, which sponsored Monday's game, has donated $10,000 to the Canadian Red Cross, on behalf of the Winnipeg Football Club, to help with hurricane relief efforts ... For those of you hoping the Bombers will wear their new gold jerseys again on Sunday, the club won't confirm or deny. However, equipment manager Brad Fotty took about a dozen of them to get stitched up yesterday. He said he was getting them ready "just in case."


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