Building the perfect team

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:18 AM ET

Doug Berry hasn't gone mad -- at least not yet -- but he's doing his best Dr. Frankenstein impression these days.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach is spending a lot of time in his lab, also known as the practice field and the film room, trying to piece together the perfect lineup for Sunday's game in Montreal against the Alouettes (7-5).

Bomber fans are hoping he comes up with something a little prettier than the one Dr. Frankenstein created.

The question marks surrounding the Blue and Gold (6-7) are numerous thanks to several injuries and five losses in their last six games: Are they going to go with three import offensive linemen? If so, which American comes off? Who starts at linebacker? Who plays on the defensive line?

Roster upheaval often spells disaster, but there's nothing else Berry can do.

"It's not like we're playing guys that really haven't played before," Berry said. "I understand that you'd like guys to be able to play together for 20 games in a row.

" ... We've still gotta try to put our best team together that we think gives us the chance to succeed against the things that Montreal does."

The Bombers practised yesterday with imports Garrick Jones (left tackle), Eric Wilson (right guard) and Jermese Jones (right tackle). Starting three Americans on the O-line is rare in the CFL, but Berry said the run blocking has to be much better than it was last week in Calgary.

Then again, non-import right guard Val St. Germain, who was expected to be out until at least October with an elbow injury, might be able to play Sunday, Berry said.

If St. Germain can't go, however, and Wilson is comfortable enough at his old guard position, expect the Bombers to go the three import O-linemen route with Obby Khan at centre and Aaron Fiacconi at left guard.

That would force Winnipeg to start three Canadians on defence instead of the usual two. Yesterday's trio of Canucks on the first-team defence featured Neil McKinlay at weak-side linebacker, and Doug Brown and Cam Legault at defensive tackle.

Legault practised in place of Ron Warner, who watched practice for the second straight day because of minor knee injury.

Meanwhile, CB Stanford Samuels still isn't practising because of an ankle sprain.

Berry plans to make his roster decisions today.

D-LINE FEAST? The Alouettes surrendered 12 sacks -- one shy of the league record -- against the B.C. Lions on Saturday, which must have the Bomber D-line salivating, right?

Not quite.

"I wonder if they'll let that happen again? That's the first thing that went through my mind," Doug Brown said yesterday. "I wonder if Don Matthews and their offensive staff are going to sit by passively and let us attempt to do the same thing or not.

"That's said with a note of sarcasm in my voice."

The Alouettes O-line is in such disarray these days that seven-time CFL all-star Uzooma Okeke, the left tackle, has likely lost his starting job, according to the Montreal Gazette.


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