Mission Impossible

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:58 AM ET

The newest running back recruits have scant hope of unseating Charles Roberts as Winnipeg's starting tailback.

And if they want to make it as backups, they must beat out Dominique Dorsey, who has CFL experience as both a tailback and a kick returner.

Call it Mission Impossible.

"Technically, you might think so," Blue Bombers head coach Doug Berry agreed yesterday. "But what we always want to take care of is (an emergency such as an injury to Roberts).

"So, we're looking for guys who we feel are capable of filling in if need be and that's what this game is going to be about for those three running backs."

Those three would be Antoine Bagwell, Fred Reid and Dorsey, who will all get work when the Hamilton Tiger-Cats come to town for a CFL exhibition match tomorrow night.

SURFING ONLINE

"It's not really trying to beat him out, it's just trying to gain experience from him," said Bagwell, 22. "He's been in the CFL for six years so, I'm trying to gain the knowledge that he has."

Both Bagwell and Reid checked Roberts out online before heading North.

"I heard about him before I came up here," said Reid, who went to school with Bomber middle linebacker Barrin Simpson. "He was telling me about him.

"Then, I went on the Internet to look him up. The past seasons he's had, he's been pretty good. Hopefully, I can back him up."

Bagwell was also impressed.

"I saw that he had 1,600 yards last year and 1,500 the year before and he led the league last year," said the 5-foot-11, 192-pound Texas Southern product.

IMPRESSIVE STATS

Both Bagwell and Reid, 25, had impressive college stats. Bagwell, in fact, is one of the top rushers in NCAA II history. He rushed for 1,588 yards and 21 touchdowns on 186 carries in his senior year. Both were also potent kick returners in college and both claim to run 4.3-40s. And each one spent time in different NFL camps.

And both will get their first -- and possibly last -- chance to show what they've got against Hamilton tomorrow as the Bombers are well aware of what Dorsey can do.

"I'm ready to play right now just to show the coaches what I can do on the field against an opponent," said the 5-foot-8, 183-pound Reid, who also blocked a punt during Sunday's practice.

"Oh, I'm anxious to show what I can do," echoed Bagwell. "I can't wait for this kind of thing."

But since there has been no tackling in camp, this will be the Winnipeg coaches' first real look at the ball carriers in live action.

"It's very difficult (to assess them)," Berry conceded. "All you can do is say, 'Where are these guys mentally? And do they show the physical attributes to be good players?'

"Now, testing their physicalness will come in the game along with their live reading of the blocking schemes, whether it be in running the ball or in pass protection pickups. So, it's going to be big to see how these guys come to play and show up because we're not going to play Charles."

Dorsey, meanwhile, will likely have to earn the kick returner's job to become the backup running back.


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