Backup battle most intriguing

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:58 AM ET

Football season is officially here.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers will kick off their second training camp under head coach Doug Berry tomorrow morning, and you can bet your bottom dollar that the goal on Maroons Road is a first-place finish in the CFL's East Division and a trip to the Grey Cup.

The team's training camp roster, as of last night, featured 77 players -- 41 returnees and 36 newcomers who will battle for 42 roster spots that the team will fill for each game this season.

Rookie camp concluded yesterday, and if every veteran reports today and passes his physical, the Bombers will have to release four players tonight.

Here's a closer look at each position, including who's back, who's new, who's gone and who has the upper hand going into camp:

QUARTERBACK

STILL HERE: Kevin Glenn, Brad Banks, Ryan Dinwiddie.

NEW ARRIVALS: Justin Holland, Matt Bohnet.

ADIOS: No one.

THE SKINNY: Bomber Nation may be divided on the issue, but Kevin Glenn is Berry's No. 1. The battle for the backup, meanwhile, will be one of the most watched in camp and could be a good one. Holland looked good in rookie camp, while Banks and Dinwiddie didn't exactly light the world on fire.

RUNNING BACK/FULLBACK

STILL HERE: Charles Roberts, Graeme Bell, Chris Cvetkovic.

NEW ARRIVALS: Dominique Dorsey, Cory Olynick, Fred Reid, Neil Fulgueras, Antoine Bagwell, Gilles Lezi.

ADIOS: Henri Childs, Scott Regimbald.

THE SKINNY: CFL rushing king Charles Roberts is always interested in who his backup will be, but it won't matter as long as Blink stays healthy. Dorsey is the front-runner if he wins the returner battle, while Fulgueras, Olynick and Lezi will battle for special teams spots. Bell will miss camp, and Cvetkovic is the incumbent longsnapper.

RECEIVER

STILL HERE: Milt Stegall, Chris Brazzell, Jamie Stoddard, Albert Johnson III, Quentin McCord, Arjei Franklin, Blair Atkinson, Derick Armstrong, Adam Eckert.

NEW ARRIVALS: O'Neil Wilson, Terrence Edwards, Tommy Manus, Kerry Johnson, Jeremy Carter, Jeff Keegan.

ADIOS: Andrae Thurman, Kwame Cavil.

THE SKINNY: Stegall and Armstrong are likely the only two in this group who can coast through camp. The others might want to give it their all. Brazzell has a leg up for the third starting import position, and the coaching staff would love to start Canadians at the other two spots. That creates an intense battle among Stoddard, Wilson, Franklin, Eckert and possibly Atkinson or Keegan.

OFFENSIVE LINE

STILL HERE: Jermese Jones, Aaron Fiacconi, Dan Goodspeed, Matt Sheridan, Dominic Picard, Obby Khan, Val St. Germain.

NEW ARRIVALS: Alexandre Gauthier, Matt O'Meara, Andrew Greene, Kyle Koch.

ADIOS: Mike Abou-Mechrek, Marc Parenteau, Garrick Jones, Eric Wilson.

THE SKINNY: According to our calculations, three of the starting five is already established -- Goodspeed at right tackle, Khan at centre and Gauthier at left tackle. Sheridan, St. Germain, Greene and Fiacconi will vie for the two guard spots.

PLACEKICKER/PUNTER

STILL HERE: Troy Westwood.

NEW ARRIVAL: Chris Beckman.

ADIOS: No one.

THE SKINNY: Berry revealed earlier this week that Westwood will be working only as a placekicker, which leaves the punting job up for grabs. Beckman will get a shot, but he should expect some competition -- soon.

RETURNER

STILL HERE: Albert Johnson III, Gabriel Fulbright.

NEW ARRIVALS: Dominique Dorsey, Fred Reid, Antoine Bagwell

ADIOS: Andrae Thurman.

THE SKINNY: The battle for this spot got a whole lot more interesting on Wednesday when the Bombers traded for Dorsey. Johnson, the incumbent, and Dorsey had comparable numbers last season, and there might not be room for both of them.

DEFENSIVE LINE

STILL HERE: Jon Oosterhuis, Doug Brown, Tom Canada, Gavin Walls, Shawn Mayne, Stevie Baggs.

NEW ARRIVALS: Jerome Haywood, Nate Davis, Dwan Epps, Brian Guebert.

ADIOS: Ron Warner, Cam Legault, Dante Booker.

THE SKINNY: This one's pretty simple: Brown, Canada and Walls are in. They will be joined by either Haywood or Davis.

LINEBACKER

STILL HERE: Barrin Simpson, Neil McKinlay, Kyries Hebert, Adrian Baird.

NEW ARRIVALS: Corey Jenkins, Kai Parham, David Lowry, Jordan Matechuk, Brad Newman, Travis Noel, Cam Hall, Toney Edison, Chris Martin.

ADIOS: Ike Charlton, Ron Ockimey, Donnavan Carter.

THE SKINNY: Simpson is a lock in the middle, but the rest is up for grabs. Hebert, Parham and McKinlay will vie for the weak-side spot, while Jenkins, Martin, Edison and Hall -- and possibly even a few DBs -- will try out for the important strong-side position.

SECONDARY

STILL HERE: Anthony Malbrough, Kelly Malveaux, Robert Bean, Ian Logan, Gabriel Fulbright, Jazzmen Williams, Greg Bearman, John Sullivan.

NEW ARRIVALS: Davin Bush, Jason Nugent, Chijioke Onyenegecha, Greg Moss.

ADIOS: Omar Evans, Stanford Samuels, Shawn Gallant.

THE SKINNY: We have an idea of who's going to play, we're just not sure where. Malbrough, Malveaux, Bush and Bean are likely to land starter's roles at halfback and cornerback, while non-import Nugent appears to be the front-runner at safety.


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