Lot riding on trip

PAUL FRIESEN

, Last Updated: 1:43 PM ET

Somebody asked Blue Bomber head coach Doug Berry yesterday if he'd picked out a movie for the bus ride home from Regina tomorrow night.

"Yeah. Close my eyes," Berry deadpanned, suggesting the last thing he's going to want to do after taking on the Saskatchewan Roughriders is watch a flick.

The thing is, the comfort of Berry's bus seat, and the quality of shut-eye he's going to get, will depend largely on what just happened to his team in the Labour Day classic.

If the Bombers find a way to end their three-game slide, their head knock will likely sleep like a baby, maybe counting Kevin Glenn to Milt Stegall touchdown passes in his dreams.

Lose a fourth straight, though, and I'm thinking Berry is going to feel every single concrete joint in the Trans-Canada Highway.

CAN GET UGLY

Losing streaks are funny things. Check that -- they're never funny. They're strange.

And they can get real ugly. Just ask the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

That's why you get the feeling there's a lot riding on this trip to Regina.

In dropping three straight, the Bombers (5-5) have a fall-back excuse: they've been without Glenn and Stegall, their much-improved quarterback and all-universe receiver.

Lose this one, though, and they'll be confronted, perhaps for the first time this season, with the prospect of their own mediocrity.

That 5-2 start will begin to feel like a mirage. They must not have been that good.

Like the skinny, pimpled teenager who started the party by landing a dance with the cheerleader, but wound up going home alone again, the Bombers might have to accept what they see in the mirror: a weakling that'll have to settle for kicking sand in the face of the Ticats.

Berry himself seemed to acknowledge his team's psyche is in the balance, when asked if there's an intangible factor that makes it hard to stop a losing streak.

"Heck, yeah," the coach said. "We don't want this thing to go to Game 4 or 5. You want to stop it at Game 1, if you can. There is, I would imagine, only so long you can maintain a positive outlook on things. But right now we're still very, very positive."

How long that can last is anybody's guess.

I wouldn't want to push it.

"I don't think our confidence level ever came down," offensive lineman Mike Abou-Mechrek said. "We know we can win every game. We've put ourselves in position to win games. And who knows, maybe the leadership those guys (Glenn and Stegall) bring will put us over the top."

If it does, imagine how different the thinking will be. The Bombers will have concrete proof they are, indeed, the same team that won five of its first seven. The last three games must have been the mirage.

Berry drew an interesting parallel yesterday.

He compared his team's current plight to the way the Bombers started the year.

SEARCHING

"We lost our first three games of the year, against Montreal," he said, conveniently including two pre-season results. "And we came back and won five out of the next six. We were searching for a quarterback at that time. And the last three games we've kind of been searching for a quarterback. Now we've got one again, and let's see what happens."

Ideally, you don't want to put so much onus on this game.

Strange things happen Labour Day weekend. With the most hostile crowd of the season, this is a tough one to win, no matter how well you've been playing.

Thanks to last week's loss to Toronto, though -- and the two before that -- this is the bed the Bombers have made for themselves.

About as comfortable as a seat on a bus, I'd say.


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