Bishop gives Blue hope

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:08 PM ET

CALGARY -- He was out of football work just three weeks ago but Michael Bishop has added a new twist to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Stampeders head coach John Hufnagel was asked what kind of challenge Bishop will bring when Calgary plays host to the Bombers in a CFL game at McMahon Stadium tonight.

"His arm, his athleticism and the hope that he gives that football team," Hufnagel responded.

The knock on Bishop is he has a tendency to scrap the game plan and freelance, which has driven former coaches to send him packing out of frustration.

"Michael will go out and improvise and if you're not going to accept that type of play, then you're probably not going to go with Michael Bishop," said Winnipeg head coach Mike Kelly. "I like athletes being athletes and if he advertises those capabilities, let him showcase them."

Bishop has done that.

"Michael made plays that were well off the script, believe me, but they were positive plays," Kelly said. "Nothing negative came out of them.

"Doug Flutie had those abilities to improvise and extend the play -- not that I'm comparing him to Doug Flutie. But Michael does have the ability to extend the play."

Bishop already had the respect of fellow quarterbacks.

"The type of system he runs and the type of arm he has, wow," said Calgary quarterback Henry Burris. "The guy brings so much talent as well as his running ability and his experience."

PRIDEFUL RETURN: Bomber punter Mike Renaud will make his return to McMahon Stadium tonight.

"I'm just very excited to be here," said Renaud, who was acquired from Calgary during training camp. "I'm excited that Calgary gave me the opportunity to get back into the CFL and I'm very grateful for it. They kind of got me out of the gates and got the ball rolling and sent me to Winnipeg where they actually needed a punter so I'm really glad to be back here.

"I hope to play as well as I possibly can just because this is where I started and I want to show the organization in Winnipeg that they didn't make a bad decision."

Renaud has earned a reputation as being a tough downfield tackler. But just one thing, who is tougher, him or Calgary punter Burke Dales, who recently fought placekicker Sandro DeAngelis, his teammate?

"Have you seen his bear claws?" Renaud said. "Just his hand alone? He's a tough guy, a very tough guy."

HANGOVER: One of the biggest surprises of the year is Calgary's 2-3 start after winning the Grey Cup last year.

"We're having a Grey Cup hangover, it looks like, early in the season," said Calgary WR/KR Markus Howell, a former Bomber. "But, if you look at our season last year, this is pretty much the same way we started. We've got a lot of young guys and we've got to find a way to win again.

"But we see those stands going up. We get to look at that every day so that's motivation enough."

The Stamps are building temporary seats in one endzone in preparation to host the Grey Cup.

OLD FRIEND: Former Bomber Scott Flagel addressed the Bombers at the end of yesterday's walk-through to discuss Bomber Pride and compare what Mike Kelly is doing to what Cal Murphy did in the early 1980s, Kelly said.

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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