Walls starts off fast

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:39 AM ET

The Winnipeg defence may have surrendered a total of 560 yards and 39 points in last week's draw with Edmonton but you could not blame some of the Blue Bomber defenders for lack of execution.

Defensive end Gavin Walls, for example, recorded seven defensive tackles, a quarterback sack and a forced fumble.

"He played on fire," Bomber head coach Doug Berry praised after that CFL match. "He played very, very hard and was noticeable on defence for most of the night."

Walls, who led the East with 11 quarterback sacks (fourth in the CFL) last season, had a relatively quiet training camp but burst on this year's scene a lot quicker than he did last year.

In fact, some even wondered, 'Where in the world is Walls?' when the 2006 campaign got underway.

"Last year, I didn't get as good a start as I did this year," Walls conceded yesterday. "My main goal this year was to get off to a good start, then just building from it.

"Last week, all I was doing was reading my keys and doing the things I was supposed to do and the plays came right to me ... I felt good. (But) I missed some tackles and felt I could have done some things a lot better."

ELIMINATE BIG PLAYS

Actually, the whole defence could have done things better, especially stopping the run game. Edmonton tailback Tyler Ebell rushed for 132 yards on 16 carries, including one for 56 yards.

"We don't really have to change too much, we just have to eliminate the big plays," said Walls, 27. "If we can eliminate that and our offence is giving us great push and giving us more than 30 points, we're going to win a lot of ball games."

Not only must they eliminate big plays, they have to make some of their own.

The Bombers host the Montreal Alouettes in their home-opener tomorrow night.

The Als surrendered eight sacks to Saskatchewan last week so Walls & Co. must be salivating.

"I'm sure they've corrected some things," said the 6-foot-2, 232-pound Arkansas product. "But we want to try to keep that trend because we want to try to get eight."

But more importantly, the Bombers just want to get a victory over the squad that has become a nemesis.

"We're always excited to play Montreal," Walls said. "They come in here with whatever swagger they've got and we're just ready to put the smackdown on them, it's as simple as that."

Although he was named both CFL Rookie of the Year and a CFL All-Star in 2005 and an East Division all-star last season, Walls still feels he is playing in the shadows of other stars here.

"I like being in the shadow," he said. "I love the dim light. I'm more of a dim light and that's fine because, you know, the dim lights always get you.

"The thing is, this is my third year and I feel like I can help this team win some ball games off my athletic ability. This is (slotback Milt Stegall's) last year and I just want to send him off with a good bang, hopefully with a (Grey Cup) ring. I'm going to give my all."


Videos

Photos