Protect home turf

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:34 AM ET

Never mind the wayward Williams for the moment, the Blue Bombers have a much more important goal in mind tonight.

Winnipeg plays host to the Toronto Argonauts and ex-NFL tailback Ricky Williams at Canad Inns Stadium (7 p.m.) and the Bombers are determined to re-establish that fear of godless punishment on anyone who dares invade their turf that they once enjoyed.

And they want to do it in their CFL home-opener.

"The first game is the most important," Bombers defensive lineman Doug Brown said yesterday. "You kind of set the tone for what it's going to be like for teams to come in and play here.

"It's paramount that we come out and show not only Toronto but every other team what it's going to be like if they come to our house to play here."

And that lesson may not be pretty.

"What you want to do in any league is when people come into your house, you want to make sure it's a point that no one else can win in this place except us," said Bombers offensive lineman Dan Goodspeed, who is known for his nastiness. "When you have that mentality and the other teams see you start having a good record at home and the crowd getting behind ya, it's just hard to play.

"Just look at Montreal last week. They know they're hard to beat at home. Their crowd gets into it and we end up screwing away a quarter. That's what we can do at home. If you get that confidence at home that you're not going to lose, it's hard to be beat at home."

Winnipeg head coach Doug Berry believes that it is one of three things a team needs to do to become great -- win all home games, all games against division rivals and win the close games.

"If you can do all three of those things, you're bound to have a pretty darn good season," he said.

Of course, stopping Williams will just be one of many focal points in reaching that goal tonight.

"If we can go out there and do what we need to do and focus on just not Ricky but focus on their offence, then we'll be fine," said Bombers defensive lineman Ron Warner, who faced Williams in both the NFL and in college. "Then, we'll be able to set a tone and let everybody know around the CFL that we're for real."

And Argos head coach Mike (Pinball) Clemons saw plenty of potential in the Bombers when they lost to the Alouettes in Montreal last week.

"They were a team that is an invigorating bunch and very, very talented, and only beginning to know themselves in the new re-design," he said. "They're a team that's going to get stronger and stronger as the year goes on. We are very, very impressed. And hopefully, they don't mind delaying the maturation process at least another 48 hours."

But Berry hopes they don't wait any longer.

"The first (win) would be nice, not just for me but for the players," said the rookie head mentor.

"The Winnipeg team needs to and would like to get that first win done with so that they can reflect more on what's happening today and what's gonna happen tomorrow, based on yesterday."

And it will be up to quarterback Kevin Glenn to establish those winning ways.

"It's our home turf, you've got to be ready to play," Glenn said. "We want to be undefeated at home."


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