Fred's the man

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:41 AM ET

Just who is "The Man" in the Winnipeg Blue Bombers backfield these days?

The question was posed yesterday to head coach Doug Berry, who didn't have to think too long about the answer.

"Fred," Berry said.

That would be Fred, as in Reid, the diminutive yet powerful tailback out of Mississippi State who is in his second season with the Blue and Gold.

That will technically be news to Reid this morning, because as of yesterday afternoon he still hadn't been told, in so many words, that he is No. 1 on the depth chart.

He had a pretty good feeling, though, considering he started the last two games. He churned out 101 yards on 13 carries against the Toronto Argos on Friday night, giving him two 100-yard outings in just four career starts.

"If I keep doing what I'm doing and having good games, hopefully I can be the number one guy," Reid said.

"But so far I'm still the starting tailback. I haven't heard nothin' else.

"That's just how I look at it every week: just go out and do the best that I can, and hopefully I can wrap it up and it can be my job."

Like a lot of people, Reid figured that Joe Smith, acquired from the B.C. Lions two weeks ago for Charles Roberts, would be the guy. Smith, however, needed time to learn the playbook, giving Reid a chance to make the coaching staff think twice.

"I had to take advantage of that so they won't look past me," Reid said.

"They can keep coming to me every week. Just don't look past me."

They certainly won't look past him after the last two games, during which he hauled the ball 24 times for 152 yards and an impressive 6.3-yard average per carry. Several of his dashes will look good on his personal highlight-reel DVD, which he views to fire himself up before games.

"I'm doing pretty good so far," Reid said. "I just have to keep it up and keep helping the team win and just take advantage of the opportunity that I get.

"... I'm so confident right now. It's just like every time I get my hands on the ball, I feel like I can do something big with it."

Smith, meanwhile, has carried the ball 18 times for 65 yards and a 3.6-yard average as he adjusts to a new offensive system, new teammates and new surroundings.

THUNDER AND LIGHTNING

Berry said the plan all along was to use both players, who have distinctive running styles. The 5-foot-8 Reid is a small slasher, while the 6-foot-2 Smith is a destroyer of defensive linemen.

"It's like thunder and lightning," Berry said. "... (Reid) is the guy that knows everything that we're doing, and we'll continue to use Joe throughout the game just the way we are."

Berry refused to peer into the future when asked what his running back situation will look like next season, considering Smith has a hefty six-figure salary.

"We don't worry about the future," Berry said. "The future is tomorrow and this year. That's all I'm caring about right now. We'll continue to use two backs."


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