New job for Obby

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:36 AM ET

When Obby Khan is healthy enough to return to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers starting lineup, there's a good chance it won't be at centre.

Khan was Winnipeg's offensive lineman of the year in 2006 as the man in the middle, but he has missed all seven games this season because of a viral infection and isn't expected to play in the eighth, this Friday night against Toronto.

Meanwhile, Khan's replacement, Dominic Picard, has impressed head coach Doug Berry so much that the centre role might be his permanently.

"A pet peeve of mine when I came here last year was the accuracy of the shotgun snaps, and Obby was a little better than the guys before him, but Dom Picard's the best," Berry said.

"He's right on the money with his snaps. That carries a lot of value."

Berry estimates that the Bomber offence uses the shotgun snap 90% of the time. There were several instances last season when quarterback Kevin Glenn had to leap to receive the snap from Khan.

That hasn't been the case with Picard.

"Everybody wants to know why is Kevin Glenn showing so much more improvement," Berry said. "That's one of the little factors.

"His eyes are where they need to be. He's looking at the ball peripherally while he's looking at the defence. When somebody else is snapping, you have to concentrate on the ball and pick up the defence peripherally.

"That's not what you want to have happen."

The good news for Khan is he can play any spot on the O-line. He lost 50 pounds during his illness, but he's starting to put that weight back on his 6-foot-4 frame.

SUPERBLY

"He looks a lot better to me," Berry said. "Physically he looks like an offensive line-man again, whereas a month ago it was like, 'Are you a linebacker?' "

Another reason why Berry is hesitant to rush Khan back is the fact that the O-line has performed superbly this season. Winnipeg leads the league with nine sacks allowed, and it has paved the way for the league's rushing leader, Charles Roberts.

"There's no need to retool the wheel," Berry said. "The wheel's turning quite nicely right now.

"But I do respect Obby's abilities and when I feel like he can make us better, that's the time to consider getting him on the roster."


Videos

Photos