Versatility has provided major boost for Blue

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:57 AM ET

If Ike Charlton can't play Friday night because of bruised ribs, Stanford Samuels will move from cornerback and take over for him at outside linebacker.

In fact, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers feel they have players who can fill potential voids at all positions.

"We've done a nice job with all of management, from Lyle (Bauer) through Brendan (Taman), in getting the players here that we've needed," head coach Doug Berry said.

"The coaches have done a nice job instructing the guys that we do have here. There have been very few, if any, guys that we've looked at and said 'He can't play.' "

The Bombers used players at many different positions during training camp, particularly on defence. Ron Ockimey started at linebacker but is now the safety. Donnavan Carter started at safety but ended up at linebacker.

Samuels worked out at both halfback and cornerback, but he also took some turns out the outside linebacker spot he could very well find himself playing on Friday night when the Bombers (4-2) take on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (1-5) at Ivor Wynne Stadium.

"Naturally you don't want to have to do that because it involves two position changes, but he's the best guy to go in there, and that's a very difficult position to play," Berry said.

The Bombers could afford to move Samuels from cornerback to linebacker because Omar Evans is expected to return after missing three games with a groin injury.

AND WE QUOTE: "We've got real good players here that are committed to winning, and when you have that you've always got a chance -- right 'til the last play of the game."

-- Berry, who didn't miss the humour in the last part of his statement.

LATE HITS: Berry said RB Graeme Bell will continue to practice field goals daily, because he will serve as the team's emergency placekicker. He's still looking for a backup punter, however. WR Darryl Ray took a few turns yesterday ... Tickets are still available for Friday's second annual Never Alone Social at Canad Inns Stadium. For $15.50, fans can take in the Bombers-Ticats game on the Jumbotron and then enjoy live music from 3/4 Down, Dagnabbit and Echo Park. The gates open at 4 p.m., and the game begins at 6 p.m. ... There are five spots left for the True Blue Booster Crew's annual Labour Day Classic trip to Regina. Call Pat Rathwell at 489-2904 for more info.


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