Protection racket

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:37 AM ET

Led by defensive end Brent Johnson, the B.C. Lions boast the most formidable front four in the CFL.

Johnson, who was the CFL's most outstanding defensive player and Canadian last year leads the league with seven quarterback sacks -- one more than teammate Derek Wake, who is tied with Toronto's Riall Johnson for second.

Brent Johnson is also tied for the league lead in forced fumbles (three) and has 15 defensive tackles, seven less than Wake, who comes off the other end.

Lions defensive tackle Tyrone Williams checks in with three sacks and 18 tackles while fellow insider Aaron Hunt has two sacks and 10 tackles.

Suffice to say, the Winnipeg offensive line will have its work cut out trying to keep quarterback Kevin Glenn upright when the Blue Bombers take on the Leos in Vancouver tomorrow night.

VERY FORMIDABLE

"I respect their whole front," Bombers head coach Doug Berry said yesterday."Their two inside guys are very formidable as well. They really come after you. They're big, strong guys.

"Brent Johnson, everybody's aware of. But Wake is every bit as good. He's a really good athlete and brings a lot of intensity."

The Bomber O-line has proven it can be equal to such tasks in the trenches as it leads the CFL with the fewest sacks surrendered (eight).

"They are pretty strong," said Winnipeg tackle Alexandre Gauthier. "That's going to be a physical game for sure. But the O-line here is doing good. We understand our protection and we aren't making that many mental mistakes.

"So it's going to be a good fight -- facing the best defensive line. That's a good test for us and we'll see how we answer. But I'm pretty positive that we're going to do good."

Gauthier will spend most of the match locking horns with Johnson.

"I've played against him for the last five years, so we've gotten to know each other," said the 6-foot-7, 330-pound Laval product. "It's always a good fight and what I like about Brent is that he's a very physical guy. He's going to play really hard but he's not a dirty guy.

"That's going to be a good fight until the end of the game and after that, he's going to shake our hand. I like those kinds of games -- really high-tempo but fair."

Fellow Bomber tackle Dan Goodspeed knows he will also have his bands full.

"Both Wake and Brent are good pass rushers," he said. "They are physical; they're fast off the edge; they like to play with their hands and they do a nice job, obviously. They're 1-2 in sacks. They're good players ... Obviously, it's going to be a good challenge for us at tackle."

The Bombers will employ different schemes to try to keep the Lion defenders off-balance.

"You've got to change up your launch points for protection," Berry said. "You can't be sitting in the same place all the time. You've got to change up the techniques you're using ... There are a lot of ways to help an offensive tackle but you can only help one."

And that leaves the other battling one-on-one.


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