In the comfort zone

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:20 AM ET

He's gotten over the CFL culture shock and is ready to throw the bigger, badder ball for real.

Winnipeg quarterback Cleveland McCoy is expected to get his first taste of the Canadian game, albeit in a mop-up role, when the Blue Bombers play an exhibition game in Hamilton tonight.

"It took me a while to get comfortable but the last few days, the light came on and I'm ready to go out and show what I can do," the 6-foot-2, 225-pound South Carolina State product said yesterday. "I'm ready to go out there and play football and do what I've been doing for the past 12 years.

"I just want to be consistent and show coach that I can actually handle what's going on."

Although the mobile McCoy has now gotten a feel for the prairie-like CFL gridiron, he is still adjusting to calling a play and getting it off in 20 seconds -- as opposed to what seems like 45 minutes between plays down south (actually 45 seconds).

"We practised it but there's nothing like doing it under fire and going after it," said McCoy, 23. "So, we've worked on it so it's nothing I'm not prepared for. I've just got to go out and do the job.

"I can't wait to get into a game because I see a lot of windows, I see a lot of space and hopefully, the game is like that so I can show my skills."

Backup QB Ryan Dinwiddie will play the first half and likely start the second half, with Bryan Randall slated to replace him sometime in the third quarter.

'LIKE TO WIN'

"Then, play it by ear," said head coach Doug Berry.

And each of the three will have their own scripts to fit their individual talents.

"We'd like to win the game but the way we have to evaluate the quarterbacks is to call plays which can feature what they do well at this point," Berry said. "The things that we'll be calling for Cleve McCoy are not necessarily the plays we'll be calling for Ryan Dinwiddie. We can't ask Cleve to run Ryan's offence."

HO-HUM: Berry and Tiger-Cats head coach Charlie Taaffe have agreed to call a conservative game, meaning there will be few blitzes and trick plays.

"We're going to be pretty generic in what we're doing," Berry said. "We're both in agreement. It's our first pre-season game and it's not about who can out-scheme the other guy. We want to evaluate our talent. We want to see who are going to be our returners, who can get off blocks. It's not about scheming right now, it's about identifying some players who could fit in with a veteran team that either one of us has."

The Bombers will bus to Hamilton from Toronto today, then return to Toronto right after the game and be back in Winnipeg by midday tomorrow.

NO THANKS: The Bombers have no interest in KR Bashir Levingston, who was just cut by Montreal, said club GM Brendan Taman. Nor are they interested in DL Ron Warner, a former Bomber cut by Edmonton who called the club ... Any interest in former Bomber DB Stanford Samuels, also cut by the Eskies, has also waned, possibly because there is still a chance a Canuck could start at one corner here.


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