Dreaming of Cup

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:59 AM ET

Juran Bolden was covering a scout team receiver at practice yesterday when the ball came their way.

In an effort to break up the pass, the cornerback twisted and turned like a pretzel to get in front of the receiver. Then, falling down, Bolden threw his hands awkwardly behind his head and knocked the pigskin to the turf.

It was a great play by the man from whom the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are expecting great things, but that didn't stop slotback Milt Stegall from shouting, "Catch the ball!"

Turtle Man was kidding, of course. He knows his odds of winning his first Grey Cup increased on Wednesday when Bolden re-signed with the team after five years in the NFL.

"When he walked in he said, 'I'm going to help you get the Grey Cup,' " Stegall said. "That's all I needed to hear.

"He's definitely going to help us win games."

That's why head coach Doug Berry is throwing Bolden into the fire tomorrow in the Banjo Bowl against the Saskatchewan Roughriders at sold-out Canad Inns Stadium.

Strong-side linebacker Ike Charlton, who also returned this week from a brief foray into the NFL, will join Bolden in the starting lineup.

To make room for the dynamic duo, Cam Hall will move from strong- to weak-side linebacker and Robert Bean will transfer from weak- to strong-side cornerback. Those two transactions will force Corey Jenkins and Greg Moss into spectator roles tomorrow.

Berry believes the incorporation of Bolden and Charlton into the lineup won't ruffle feathers in the locker-room. Moss, for instance, had a chance to keep his job this week, taking a good chunk of first-team reps, but Bean still snagged the spot.

"These guys here are willing to do whatever it takes to win, and they understand what happens in professional sport," Berry said. "It's a shame that some of these guys are not going to have the opportunities they've had, but a lot of them did have an opportunity to show what they could do.

"If you did maximize it and that was the best, then that's too bad. Again, if you had the opportunity and you didn't maximize it, too bad again."

The fact that the coaching staff is moving Hall, a 24-year-old rookie, from one starting spot to another speaks volumes about the trust they have in him.

"He's looking good," Berry said. "The coverage aspect's going to be a lighter load for him, so it's a matter of how he fits in the box with more of the run game than he's probably accustomed.

"... Cam's a bright guy, and he's a good football player."

At 225 pounds, Hall is more suited for the weak-side linebacking spot, which requires more run stopping ability than pass coverage prowess. He said yesterday he didn't know where he would be lining up tomorrow.

Then again, he doesn't care.

"They can put me at D-line and I'll make something happen," he said.

BANJO MANIA! The game may not be until tomorrow, but the Banjo Bowl festivities heat up today at Canad Inns Stadium.

Family Fun Day starts at 10:30 a.m. and goes all day. The Bombers will sign autographs after practice, bands will play tunes all afternoon, and a Kids Play Zone will keep the young ones busy. Admission is free before 5 p.m.

Meanwhile, a Legends Breakfast, featuring former Bombers and Roughriders greats, will be held in the Winnipeg Sun Centre at 11 a.m.

Tonight, Canadian rockers 54.40 will headline an outdoor concert in the south end zone that will also feature The Waking Eyes and Sons of York.

LATE HITS: Offensive lineman Obby Khan took a lot of reps at practice this week and could see his first action of the season tomorrow in a part-time role ... With the return of placekicker Troy Westwood from a hamstring injury, Canadian receiver Adam Eckert will come off the roster ... Tickets to a Bombers game haven't been this hot in a long time, as even Bombers assistants are having trouble snagging extra ducats. Defensive line coach Richard Harris toured the locker-room yesterday asking players if they had any to spare.


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