Reid runs rampant

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:02 AM ET

Barrin Simpson was the guy who brought Fred Reid to the CFL, so he is allowed to crack a joke about the running back's record-breaking performance on Friday night at B.C. Place.

Reid hauled the ball 26 times for a franchise-record 260 yards in Winnipeg's 37-10 demolition of the host B.C. Lions. It broke Blaise Bryant's 15-year-old record of 249 yards, and it was also the third-highest single-game total in CFL history and the best in 44 years.

"Fred had holes I could run through and pick up 20 yards," Simpson said with a chuckle yesterday.

Simpson was complimenting the Bomber offensive line with that statement, but he still marvelled at Reid, who a year ago at this time was Winnipeg's kick returner and nothing more, stuck behind the indestructable Charles Roberts on the depth chart.

"I knew Fred could play," Simpson said. "I watched him when I was leaving Mississippi State, and he's a dynamic player. And he ran a 4.3 (40-yard dash). That's can't-coach speed.

"He's a dynamic player, and he went out there and showed it. He played big for us and pretty much carried the load, him and (Yvenson) Bernard."

The Bombers, who enter their bye week with a 3-5 record, racked up 393 yards along the ground, including 112 by Bernard, which made it the third-best single-game rushing total in team history.

Reid's previous best game was a 167-yard showing against Calgary two weeks ago, and he had a relatively easy time obliterating his personal best mark on Friday night.

"Just about every play I was in the secondary," Reid told The Canadian Press. "I have to give props to the O-line. They opened some big holes. Before I knew it, I was in the secondary. You know how the DBs are, they don't really want to tackle back there."

Reid leads the CFL with 795 rushing yards, good for 160-yard advantage on Montreal's Avon Cobourne. Against the Lions he had eight carries between 10 and 19 yards in length, and another three that were 20 yards or longer. His 52-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter was the longest carry of his career, and he also had a one-yard scamper for a score in the first half.

The large men who paved the way for Reid to enter the record books said the game plan wasn't much different than it was for the first seven games of the campaign.

"Those were the same plays that we've been running all along," said guard Brendon LaBatte. "They just executed them a little better. Everybody's starting to get familiar with them, and when (the opposing defence) changes the front and they shift last second, it doesn't catch guys off guard as much."

Some are questioning why Reid, the unquestionable MVP of the Bomber offence this season, was allowed to chase the record after suffering minor thigh and ankle injuries earlier in the contest.

"I wasn't overly thrilled about keeping him in there, but they said he was 25 yards away from the record," head coach Mike Kelly said. "Of course I was here when Blaise Bryant had the record, so I was like, 'I don't want him to break Blaise's record,' so I went and I asked Fred, 'Are you OK to play.' He said, 'Yeah, I want it,' so we just kept feeding him.

"The guy's a warrior, and he just kept going and going."

In the bigger picture, Reid's record-breaking performance might just help the Bomber offence bust out of its funk for good, according to right tackle Glenn January.

"That's going to be a hard record to break," he said. "It's good to be a part of that, and that's something that we can carry on through the season and give us a little bit of extra confidence."

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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