Esks ripe for picking?

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:37 AM ET

The Eskimos played against the Alouettes on Sunday afternoon in Montreal, flew home to Edmonton that night and landed in Winnipeg yesterday afternoon.

That's a lot of travel and not much practice time, so does that mean the Winnipeg Blue Bombers will have an Eskimo team that is there for the taking tonight at Canad Inns Stadium?

"To a certain extent, yeah, but at the same time they're still going to get up for the game," Bomber linebacker Cam Hall said. "They've got something to prove after getting blown out by Montreal.

"So I don't know if they're necessarily ripe for the picking. We could be walking into a hurricane."

The Eskimos are 7-5 after getting smacked 40-4 by the East Division-leading Alouettes at Molson Stadium five days ago. Quarterback Ricky Ray passed for only 156 yards before getting the hook.

The Bombers, meanwhile, are 4-8 after winning two in a row, plus they've had a regular week of practice. Pivot Kevin Glenn threw for a season-high 368 yards in a 25-23 win over Hamilton last Friday night.

Hall is no stranger to playing on only a few days of rest. He went to Boise State, which often scheduled weeknight games "just to get on ESPN," he said.

Hall noted that the body doesn't feel right without the traditional week off between games.

"You're sore and tired and don't want to get out of bed -- basically all the worst things in the Bible," he said. "Nah, it's not fun to have limited days of rest. It's just like anybody else's job. You hate having shortened time to go out and do what you've gotta do to get your job done."

Bombers left tackle Alexandre Gauthier isn't so sure that Edmonton's short week will have that much of an impact on tonight's important tilt.

"When you get a full week of practice or even an extra day, often you can have two days in pads and you're going to hit a little more," he said. "When you get a long week you end up more tired for the game.

"When you got a short week, coaches are shortening the practice and you have no pads. Sometimes you're more fresh."

Gauthier and Hall both believe, however, that all the air travel in the last week could take a bite out of the reeling Eskimos.

"You lose a lot of water when you're in the plane," Gauthier said.

"That's definitely going to take a little bit more out of them," Hall added. "Hopefully their legs are a little tired. I wouldn't mind that, because that just gives us an extra step. We'll take anything we can get right now."

Bombers head coach Doug Berry will be taking nothing for granted tonight. He, like Gauthier, believes that teams on short weeks can end up more rested than the players coming off a regular break. He added that the Eskimos, despite their blowout loss on Sunday, have been playing some pretty good football this season.

That's noteworthy because the Bombers have won only one game this year against a team with a winning record. That was the Calgary Stampeders more than two months ago.

Things have changed, however. The Esks appear to be coming back to earth after a hot start, while the Bombers, who are tied for second in the East Division and control their playoff destiny, are on the way back up.

Then again, both teams' fortunes could change over the course of 60 minutes tonight, regardless of how much preparation time they had.

"If you look at the whole picture, they had their ass kicked," Gauthier said. "They want to win this one. That was the same thing with us a few weeks ago (after losing to Saskatchewan in the Banjo Bowl).

"They're going to come hard. When the whistle blows for the first time, you don't think about that short week."


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