Blue go back in time

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive line tomorrow will feel like it has hopped in Doc Brown's DeLorean and headed back in time with Marty McFly.

It will feel like 2006, when it is actually 2007.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders offensive line features no fewer than five starters and backups -- Jermese Jones, Mike Abou-Mechrek, Marc Parenteau, Belton Johnson and Val St. Germain -- who spent all or part of last season in Winnipeg.

It will feel a little bit like a 2006 practice for Bombers D-linemen Doug Brown, Tom Canada, Gavin Walls and Jon Oosterhuis, but there won't be any feelings of heartbreak or lament now that they're on opposing sides.

"Basically it's like seeing your ex-girlfriend," said Oosterhuis, a backup defensive tackle. "You say hi to them, and that's it. There's no connection anymore. You don't have to look out for them anymore. And you know their moves."

Canada isn't sure how he'll feel when he sees his former teammates on the field at Mosaic Stadium.

"It'll be a new experience for me, but it could go both ways," the defensive end said yesterday. "They kind of know what to expect from me, and I know what to expect from them. I'm not really looking at it like we're just going to go out there and just dominate.

"It's going to be a challenge either way, whether it was a guy I played with or not. I'm trying not to make too big a deal out of it."

Abou-Mechrek and Parenteau left via free agency, while Jones was traded before the season for a draft pick. St. Germain was released in July, and Johnson was let go last season.

"I suppose you could always say anybody that leaves is a defector, but we don't worry about those things," head coach Doug Berry said. "It happens all the time."

Abou-Mechrek and Jones are likely to start on Sunday, but Walls doesn't see either side having the edge.

"It's just really, really hard to compare practice with a game," Walls said. "But as far as film, and watching those guys in previous games, they're looking good. And they're winning. That's the main thing.

"And we're winning too, so this is going to be a big test. I'm not really trying to get caught up in what they do."

The Roughriders boast the best running game in the CFL at more than 123 yards per game. They have, however, allowed 23 sacks, which is the fifth-best mark.

The biggest concern for the Bombers is keeping Saskatchewan quarterback Kerry Joseph, who is eighth in league rushing with 356 yards, planted firmly in the pocket.

"It doesn't matter if we know what they're doing or if they know what we're doing," Walls said. "It's just all about stopping it. Kerry Joseph, we can't let him get out of the pocket and do a lot of big running.

"I don't think he can beat us sitting in the pocket. That's the plan."


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