Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

PAUL FRIESEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:52 AM ET

You could tell Dan Goodspeed would almost rather choke on the words than spit them out.

The Bomber O-lineman was asked to describe the vibe on his 8-10 team going into the playoffs, compared to a year ago, when the Bombers were in the same position -- hosting the East semifinal -- with a vastly superior 10-7-1 record.

"I have a lot of feelings about this," the good-natured O-lineman began. "It's a matter of which ones I want to share with you."

Don't be picky, big guy, just pour them all out.

"It's kind of been a weird year," Goodspeed continued. "It's kind of felt like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Sometimes it's spot-on, sometimes we're rocky.

"The CFL's a different animal. Teams are always hot in the first half and slow down in the second half. Teams at the end that get hot usually fair pretty good. We've done that."

And this is where Goodspeed began having some trouble.

He knew what he was about to say could be used against him. Or, at least, come back to haunt him.

"I say this with a grain of salt," he said. "I don't even know if I want to say this."

Long pause. And then he said it.

"I feel like this team gets up for big games."

The words got out like prison inmates during an overnight escape. Over the wall before the lights came on.

Little wonder Goodspeed was guarding them like a serial killer.

All season long, the Bombers have tripped over their own expectations. Heaven forbid somebody suggest they're finally going to live up to press clippings from the spring. Especially one of their own. Solitary confinement for you, fella.

But now that the breakout was on, Goodspeed wasn't about to turn around.

If the dogs wind up on his tail, he's got some evidence for them to sniff.

"Look back at the Toronto game," Goodspeed said, referring to a 39-9 thrashing of the Argos in a September road game the Bombers absolutely had to have. "Look at the Saskatchewan game, here. I know we didn't win that one, but we played well, they just got the lucky bounce on us.

"We know the struggles we've had, so we can say, 'Hey, we can't take anything for granted, because we did struggle a little bit.' But now we have a little confidence. And that's all you really need to for anything to happen in the playoffs."

A little confidence. A team convinced it can reach for the "on" switch when it has to.

Is it enough? Enough to erase 0-4 and 1-6 and 2-8, not to mention more recent meltdowns in Calgary and Edmonton?

Oh, there's evidence to suggest the Bombers have rediscovered their game, and not all of it lies in the dirty streets of Toronto and Hamilton, where wins this year were more easily come by than traffic snarls on the 401.

Overcoming the first-place Alouettes in Montreal nine days ago, for instance, was something nobody would have dreamed possible two months ago.

And dismantling the Tiger-Cats, here, this past weekend at least shows this team doesn't rest on every laurel that it happens upon.

"If either team takes anything for granted come Saturday, it's going to be a difficult day," D-lineman Doug Brown said, hitting the nail that has been his team's undoing square on the head.

The Bombers of 2008 have been masters of taking things for granted, which, in the CFL East this year, gets you second place.

But it gets you nowhere in the playoffs.

Try taking that route, and the escape attempt will be cut short before you reach the trees.

"The guys are real confident," head coach Doug Berry chipped in. "And I don't think there's any reason to feel overconfident, either."

No, they don't.

And that might be the best thing the Bombers have going for them.


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