Stopping run key to Bombers fortunes

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:51 AM ET

Josh, darn, that 'Little Ball of Hate' was a one-man wrecking crew the last time the Blue Bombers faced Hamilton.

Although the Winnipeg coaches do not even know how much Tiger-Cats tailback Josh Ranek will play in this Sunday's CFL match in Hamilton, they spent a lot of time this week re-living that nightmare.

"He sure did (have a great game) -- 233 yards: 164 rushing and 69 receiving on four catches so, we're well aware of the game he had," head coach Doug Berry said yesterday. "It's funny how those numbers were right on the tip of my tongue ...

"They had 332 yards for the game and he had 233 of them."

Ranek led the Ticats to a 26-11 victory over the Bombers in Winnipeg, just a week after Winnipeg had shut them out 29-0 in Hamilton.

"We've been reminded of that every day," said Bomber defensive lineman Ron Warner. "It's just something that we've got to focus on -- stopping the run. That's how they beat us here and we looked at the film on when we beat them there on how we stopped the run. When we stop the run and put the ball in (quarterback Kevin) Eakin's hands, the sky's the limit for us."

Up to that point, the Bomber front seven had completely shut down opposing running backs, win or lose.

"We got a little lax," admitted middle linebacker Barrin Simpson. "We let up on our execution and it showed. We just weren't executing. We weren't in the right gaps. Most of his big runs came from us blowing assignments."

However, running back Jesse Lumsden has since returned from another failed NFL tryout and may get more work than Ranek.

ROBERTS CHECK: Bombers GM Brendan Taman sat down with Charles Roberts after the tailback admitted posting a bogus retirement announcement on a Bomber fan website to determine whether he was angling for a new contract.

"I have talked to Charlie and I think everything is fine," he said.

And no new RBs will be coming in just in case -- at least not yet.

COLD MEMORIES: Berry was coaching in the Winnipeg chill for the first time this week.

"Maybe this is an omen," suggested the former Montreal assistant coach. "The last time I practised in weather like this was at the Grey Cups in 2002 (Edmonton) and '03 (Regina)."

HASHMARKS: Simpson, by the way, returned to practice yesterday after missing Wednesday's workout with "whiplash headaches" but still needed treatment before heading to the field. "I feel great," he claimed after practice ... OL Matt Sheridan (groin) will sit out one more game ... Berry plans to dress seven OL instead of the usual six once the post-season starts -- that is, if the Bombers make the playoffs.


Videos

Photos