Bombers not too cocky

Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Doug Berry says his team is not going to be an overconfident bunch...

Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Doug Berry says his team is not going to be an overconfident bunch tonight when they tangle with Hamilton Tiger-Cats. (Winnipeg Sun File/Jason Halstead)

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:32 AM ET

HAMILTON -- As if it were summer school, Doug Berry recently asked his pupils to raise their hands if they thought the Hamilton Tiger-Cats were truly a 1-5 football team.

"Nobody would raise their hands," Berry said.

Then he asked them if they thought the Tiger-Cats could easily be sporting a 4-2 record at this point of the CFL season.

"Everybody raised their hands," Berry said.

In other words, Berry's Winnipeg Blue Bombers are not going to be an overconfident bunch tonight when they tangle with the Tabbies at Ivor Wynne Stadium (6:15 p.m., TSN/CJOB).

MATCH WIN TOTAL

The Bombers are 4-2 and coming off their stunning, last-second, 25-22 win over the Edmonton Eskimos last week.

If they win tonight, they will match their dismal win total from a year ago.

The Ticats, under interim head coach Ron Lancaster, are 1-5, but they gave the Montreal Alouettes a serious run for their money last week, falling 41-38 on a last-second field goal.

And even though Hamilton might be forced to start backup quarterback Kevin Eakin tonight in place of the injured Jason Maas, who has a hip pointer, it's obvious the Bomber players bought what their coach was selling this week.

"This is not a 1-5 team at all," defensive end Tom Canada said. "They have the personnel, they have everything."

"They're not a 1-5 team at all," echoed quarterback Kevin Glenn. "That's what their record is, but ... they could easily be in our position right now at 4-2."

Ticats receiver Kamau Peterson, whom the Bombers traded last summer for Chris Brazzell, said there's a reason his underachieving 'Cats are 1-5.

"I don't care how many games we lose by a field goal at the last second. We still lost," Peterson said. "We still didn't make enough plays.

"... Good teams don't do that. If that's where we want to be, then that's something we need to rectify, like yesterday."

If the Tabbies are going to get rolling tonight, it looks like it will start with Eakin.

"I'm leaning towards Eakin because I'm not sure Jason is going to be at the (percentage) we want him at to play," said Lancaster, who will make the final call just before kickoff.

Maas hardly practised at all this week, although the former Eskimo said yesterday that he was feeling much better.

"I'm not opposed to playing through pain," Maas said.

"It's just when it physically inhibits you completely of doing the two things I need to do to play football (throw and run), then that's when it's hard to get on the field."

Lancaster would have no problem starting Eakin, who appeared in three games late last season and completed 44 of 74 attempts for 666 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.

"Eakin's got a lot of confidence," Lancaster said. "He's a little bit of a devil may care. If he sees a receiver a little bit open, he thinks he's wide open and he lets it go."

Canada couldn't care less about who's taking the snaps for the Ticats.

"Whoever they put back there, we're gonna be after him," he said. "... We're gonna come out here focused and ready to kick some butt."

Some believe it's only a matter of time before the Ticats, who acquired stars like Maas, Corey Holmes, Terry Vaughn and Josh Ranek in the off-season, bust out and start winning some games.

Bombers running back Charles Roberts, however, sees it differently.

"We're on a roll right now," he said, "and we can't afford to mess up our momentum against a team that we should beat."


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