Get with program

PAUL FRIESEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:07 AM ET

Head coach Mike Kelly was comparing his Blue Bombers to the Montreal Alouettes yesterday, and you might be surprised at what he found.

Apparently, Kelly doesn't see much to choose between the two, at least on paper.

That's right, the Professor says the thing that separates his group from Marc Trestman's, aside from seven victories and 14 points in the standings, is an ability to take advantage of opportunities.

"That's the difference between the two clubs," Kelly said. "Because if I went across the rosters, there's not a whole lot of jumping up and down where I say, 'Boy, I wish I had this guy from Montreal,' or, 'I wish I had that guy from Montreal.' I like our roster and how it matches up."

Geez, if that's the case, if the talent level is comparable, what's that say about the coaching?

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Kelly's point was actually that the Alouettes are a more seasoned group, with a core that's been together for years, having learned how to cash in when the opponent messes up.

"We're still learning those things," Kelly said.

The Bombers, as an organization, have yet to learn something even more important: how to find and develop quarterbacks.

And if they needed a reminder, they're getting it during this three-week stretch against B.C. and Montreal.

The Lions were led off the field here last weekend, two points in hand, by their third-string quarterback, someone named Travis Lulay.

"I had never seen that guy," Bomber receiver Adarius Bowman admitted. "But he did a great job, whoever he is."

That's the thing: Lions mad professor Wally Buono seems to build quarterbacks in his basement. As of now, he's got five: Lulay, Buck Pierce, Jarious Jackson, Zac Champion and Casey Printers, who's expected to become the starter this weekend.

Think the Bombers could go four deep at that position and compete?

Tomorrow, it'll be the Montreal Alouettes' turn to show off their stable, as longtime backup Adrian McPherson could get his first career start in place of the limping Anthony Calvillo.

McPherson completed 10 of 11 passes for 110 yards and two majors to help the Als outscore Hamilton 41-38 last week.

Meanwhile, the Professor's gone through, what, 10 arms this year? And it's still Michael Bishop or bust.

"What B.C. has is a luxury right now," Kelly said. "We've obviously sniffed around some of those guys, and Wally wasn't going to bite on any of that. Montreal has done a good job of being very patient with McPherson and bringing him along.

"That's what you have to have. You have to have your program in place for a number of years."

So that's what this is -- a program?

Start the season with someone who's never been a starter, yank him after four games and bring in a hired gun, all the while changing the backups like underwear?

"We have some young kids here now that if we can be afforded that same type of patience that we may be able to reap some benefits there," Kelly said.

Currently the names are Bramlet, Santos and DiMichele, who've replaced Randall and Williams. Who knows what they'll be in a few months.

Here's the potentially fatal flaw in this seemingly never-ending search, though.

What if the Bombers continue to pursue a deal with the Lions, and Lulay or Jackson were to wind up in Winnipeg down the road -- would they look as good running this offence as they do running B.C.'s?

Or is there something inherently different in the structure and philosophy of the attacks run by people like Buono and Trestman, something that allows a coach to plug in a new player and get similar results?

That's not a difference that would show up on a roster, either.

But it sure would in the standings.

Contact Paul at paul.friesen@sunmedia.ca or 632-2788.


Videos

Photos