'Kind of nervous'

Bombers' Fred Reid practises with the team on Monday. (Sun Media/Marcel Cretain)

Bombers' Fred Reid practises with the team on Monday. (Sun Media/Marcel Cretain)

PAUL FRIESEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:53 AM ET

He didn't touch the ball during the preseason, even though he was healthy enough to play the second game.

His running mate from last season wondered out loud about his own job security with the new regime, and wound up getting the axe.

Oh, and some rookie was lighting it up in his spot.

So, yeah, Blue Bombers running back Fred Reid admits to being just a tad concerned about how his '09 training camp went.

"I was kind of nervous," Reid was saying after practice yesterday. "Because you never know what goes on, what they were thinking in their heads. I'm just happy that I'm here. Just roll with it now."

Or run with it.

Based on yesterday's practice, Reid will carry the ball plenty in the Bombers' season opener in Edmonton, Thursday.

Each time the third-year back gets it will be one more time than he carried in the preseason. Both he and Joe Smith, last year's starters, sat out both games, something Reid admits he'd never seen before.

"I actually thought I was going to get some reps in that second preseason game," he said. "Later on that week they told me I'm not playing. I really didn't know what to think."

Reid says Smith was thinking the worst.

And when rookie Lavarus Giles exploded onto the scene, the axe fell on the Thunder portion of the duo known as Thunder and Lightning.

"It was sad," Reid said. "I was a little surprised. He was talking to me like he kind of saw it coming, and I would help him stay positive. But hopefully somebody else will pick him up. He's a real good dude."

Fully recovered from a rib injury, Reid says there won't be any rust on him Thursday in Edmonton, despite his lack of action the last two weeks.

"Rested legs," he said. "I'm ready to go. Too ready."

Which brings us to an unknown about the new tandem: will Reid and Giles get along as well as Reid and Smith did?

Three-down football only produces so many running plays, and it's rare to find two personalities who don't mind sharing that load.

Smith was as laid-back as a hot summer day, a guy who'd just as soon pull weeds from his garden as play a football game. So the number of times he got the ball wasn't exactly an irritation.

Giles isn't exactly high-strung, either. But he has set some lofty goals for the season.

"I'm going for 1,000 (yards)," the 23-year-old said. "I think I can be a great football player in this league. But you've got to work at it."

With a fresh two-years-plus-an-option contract in his pocket, Giles feels wanted for the first time in his brief pro career.

After bouncing around a few teams since leaving Jackson State University a year ago, the Mississippi product is looking forward to his first actual game cheque.

"I had a pro contract with the (Jacksonville) Jaguars, but I never played. They released me. So this is the real one," Giles said. "We don't say it's about the money, that it's about winning. But you gotta make money. It is pretty tough when you're on the practice roster.

"But you stay humble and keep going. Something good's going to come out of it."

Giles has switched his jersey number from No. 40 to 29, to match his number in college.

Reid, who wears 32, expects to one-up his new running mate on the field, too.

"I've got a goal of close to 2,000 yards," Reid said. "Hopefully, it can work out."

Hmmm -- 3,000 yards rushing, combined, in the CFL?

"We're both going to get our opportunities," Reid said. "I don't know who's going to get more carries. We've just got to make plays whenever we get our hands on the ball."

For Reid, that chance is going to come Thursday.

Finally.


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