Injuries piling up on O-line

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:56 AM ET

Forgive them if you hear Blue Bombers utter that once-familiar exclamation at camp: 'Oh-oh.'

Plagued with injuries and defections from the offensive line over the last few years, the Bombers were boasting the best depth they have enjoyed there coming into training camp.

Good thing, too, as three offensive linemen have now been sidelined due to injury as the Bombers prepare to take on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in a CFL pre-season clash tomorrow night.

Matt O'Meara, a non-import, was the latest to join sick bay with what the club is calling an "upper-body" injury, a term usually reserved for hockey when those in charge want to hide something. Import tackle Jermese Jones suffered a quad pull on the weekend while Alexandre Gauthier, acquired from Calgary in the off-season, has missed most of camp with a hamstring problem.

"Our offensive line is down a little bit in terms of being nicked, so we're not at full strength there," Bomber head coach Doug Berry said yesterday. "So, we're moving guys around."

Both guards Val St. Germain, who is just getting over a bad back, and Matt Sheridan took turns at tackle yesterday as Winnipeg is down to eight healthy Hogs, but just one natural tackle, Dan Goodspeed.

WINNING WAYS: Although the Bombers will continue to tinker with different bodies in different positions tomorrow, Berry still wants to win.

"We're going to play to win but the first priority is to play the players and let them have the opportunity to make us winners," he said. "We'll certainly game-plan to win but within the framework that we will not ask guys to do what they are not capable of doing. So, we're going to be very vanilla defensively in terms of scheme. We'll try to look at our players and evaluate them, not from a scheme point of view, but from a technique point of view and physical point of view.

"The same thing offensively. We're not going to do all the things we're capable of doing offensively ... and hope we can be relatively simple enough, yet complex enough that our quarterbacks have a chance to succeed as well as the running backs."

Yet, Berry hates to lose, even exhibition games.

"We don't go through all of this to lose," he said.

HASHMARKS: DB Greg Bearman (groin), LB Toney Edison (hamstring) and CB Robert Bean (shoulder) were the other Bombers sidelined yesterday ... As expected, Montreal signed former Bomber OL/DL Eric Wilson to a one-year contract and reports indicate that he took a pay cut after refusing to accept one in Saskatchewan ... The Bombers return to the practice field today at 10 a.m.

CRAZY CART: Kicker Troy Westwood and long-snapper Chris Cvetkovich were having a little fun, playfully avoiding the Berry-driven golf cart on the sidelines during practice. Berry, you may recall, almost ran over fifth-string quarterback Matt Bohnet during Monday's afternoon session.

Although Bohnet was limping noticeably after he backed into the cart while dropping back to pass, he returned to both practices yesterday.


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