Blink has sights set on record

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 12:26 PM ET

VANCOUVER -- The man they call 'Blink' is only 90 yards away from eclipsing his personal best in rushing.

But Winnipeg tailback Charles Roberts will not be satisfied with what would be the third-highest rushing total in Blue Bomber history.

"I've already considered that a 'got,'" Roberts said yesterday. "But I want to try to get Robert Mimbs's single-season record so, I've got to have a big game (against B.C. tonight). And I've got to have a big game against Calgary so I can do it."

Roberts, who leads the CFL in rushing with 1,465 yards, needs 304 to tie the Mimbs mark of 1,769 yards set in 1991.

HOMETOWN DEBUT: Winnipeg sophomore linebacker Neil McKinlay will make his debut as the starting middle linebacker before friends and family who have made the 45-minute trip from his Langley, B.C., hometown tonight. McKinlay figures at least 30 will be here cheering him on.

"I'm excited and I'm excited to be back here," he said. "It's nice to get an opportunity to play, especially back at home in front of people I know.

"I'm excited more than anything else. Nervous? Yeah. Before kickoff, there will be that anxiousness but once the first kickoff starts, everything will calm down and we'll go from there."

With a good showing, it is believed that this experiment could become the norm next season. But McKinlay will still have to play on most special teams.

"Yeah, I'll probably lose about 10-15 pounds doing a substantial amount of running around," said the 6-foot, 220-pound Simon Fraser product.

McKinlay replaces import LB Joe Tuipala, who was removed from the roster to make room for the return of import WR Chris Brazzell. The only other move has import DB Ike Charlton replacing injured DB Anthony Malbrough.

GOT MILT COVERED? For B.C., import DB James Whitley will replace DB Troy Sanders while LB Kelly Lochbaum replaces OL Sherko Rasouli, injured in Friday's practice. Ex-Bomber Moe Elewonibi will start at tackle for Rasouli. Import OL Zach Wilson has also been added.

Whitley, who was acquired from Montreal just before the trade deadline, will have the unenviable task of covering Bomber SB Milt Stegall.

"As a defence back, you have to cover anyone so you just take the challenge," Whitley said. "You have to play (Stegall) a little bit aggressive sometimes and sometimes, you have to play a little bit off of him. He's a great receiver."

Stegall, you may recall, caught four passes for 234 yards and four touchdowns the last time these teams met.

UNKNOWN FUTURE: Everyone knows by now that B.C. QB Casey Printers was hoping to parlay last year's MVP season into a more lucrative, long-term contract. But first, the success of Dave Dickenson, then a shoulder injury threw a wrench into those plans.

"Last year was a pretty good year for me but I'm looking forward to the future and making this thing work," Printers said. "When they say Casey Printers is back, that's just ridiculous. I hadn't gone anywhere. I just hadn't had the opportunity to play."

Bomber DB Brad Franklin knows Printers' scrambling ability will add a dimension to the B.C. offence.

"Covering (Lion SBs Geroy Simon and Jason Clermont) is a handful in itself and when you've got a guy who can run around and takes off, I've got to keep chasing them," he said. "And everybody knows you can't cover a guy more than two or three seconds."


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