Not bad, for exhibition

PAUL FRIESEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:58 AM ET

You want reasons to get excited from a pre-season game?

Let us count the ways.

The most important part of last night's pretend encounter between your Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats was a veritable feast for football-starved eyes in these parts.

If pre-season games meant anything, you know what we'd be saying today?

That rookie head coach Mike Kelly knew exactly what he was doing when he dumped starting quarterback Kevin Glenn and traded for Stefan "Lefty" LeFors.

The two went head-to-head for the first 15 minutes last night, giving Bomber fans a glimpse of the future while experiencing a few painful flashbacks from the past.

Wearing his familiar No. 5 for the Ticats, Glenn began the night 0-for-3 with an interception, while Lefty LeFors and the Bomber offence scored on their first three drives and rolled to 17 unanswered points.

The Bombers were so hot, they scored even when they didn't have the ball, taking a Hamilton safety to the bank for two points.

With all of five CFL starts under his belt, Lefty LeFors made all the right reads and put the pigskin right on the money more often than not, putting at least a few minds at ease that Kelly was rolling the dice with the most important position on the field.

If pre-season games meant something, we'd also be wondering why all the fuss about this Bomber offensive line.

With Dan Goodspeed and Alex Gauthier off to the Ticats and Dominic Picard's defection to the Argos, we wondered who in the name of Chris Walby was going to protect the passer.

Well, Lefty was virtually untouched in his quarter of work, while the hogs opened enough holes for rookie running back Lavarus Giles to rumble for 43 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Then there's quarterback Bryan Randall, the only quarterback Kelly kept from last season's stable.

Wouldn't you know it, Randall engineered a touchdown drive of his own in the second quarter, hitting receiver Romby Bryant with a bomb, then taking it in himself.

It was all so -- unexpected.

The local faithful are taking a wait-and-see approach with the new regime. Season ticket sales are down.

But this collection of new faces -- Kelly has jettisoned about half the roster that finished last season -- trotted off the field at half-time with a 26-0 lead in their hands and an ovation in their ears.

There's also the not-so-little matter of finding new talent, a job Kelly handed to a fellow named John Murphy, another rookie at his post.

If you could hang your hat on pre-season games, this team's future would be looking mighty spiffy, indeed.

There was the interception by James Johnson, acquired by Murphy in a trade with Saskatchewan.

Giles, he of the two touchdowns, was a Murphy find from his days in Calgary.

And he wasn't the only new running threat out there, as Yvenson Bernard looked like a CFLer, too.

Murphy can't take credit for Bernard, though, as he was originally scouted by former GM Brendan Taman. On the back of a napkin, of course.

We may have a new kick return threat in town, too, based on what we saw from Ramonce Taylor. When he hung onto the ball.

And how about the play of Fred Perry, snapped up in the trade that saw the popular Kelly Malveaux shipped off to Edmonton?

It was all so -- perfect. For a while.

Things didn't go so well for James Kilian, the No. 3 quarterback on the night, who must be wondering why the O-line didn't block for him the way it did for Lefty LeFors.

The vaunted D-line didn't get a single sack, either.

The team's finish was a little shaky, too, 32-22 the final.

And there's still no sign of a punter who can boot the ball into the wind.

Other than that, not a bad night.

If only it meant something.


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