Sub in crosshairs

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:08 AM ET

When you hear Jovon Johnson say he would rather see Adrian McPherson start for the Montreal Alouettes tomorrow, you assume you know the reason why.

You figure the CFL's interception leader wants to pad his stats by preying on the newbie, who would be making his first career start if Anthony Calvillo can't play because of a calf injury.

Then the cornerback reveals the real reason.

"We know that he's going to try to run the ball, and Calvillo's going to be a thrower," Johnson said. "So I'd rather play McPherson, because any quarterback who thinks he's going to run up and down the field against us, it's not going to happen."

While B.C. Lions third-string quarterback Travis Lulay ran for 92 yards in a win over Winnipeg five days ago, it's fair to say that the Bombers didn't game plan for him. They also lost their starting middle linebacker in the third quarter -- before Lulay did most of his damage with his feet.

So the Bombers will be ready for McPherson tomorrow. Calvillo missed practice yesterday for the second straight day, according to the Montreal Gazette, and appears unlikely to start tomorrow.

The Alouettes, however, are 13-2 and will host the East Division final on Nov. 22. They could start Krusty the Clown at quarterback against the Bombers, and it wouldn't matter one bit.

"Our game plan, if McPherson was to play, will be to make him throw, because his strength is running with the ball," Johnson said. "So any time we can make a quarterback that likes to run with the ball throw, it would be to our advantage, to create turnovers."

Turnovers

The truth, revealed. It turns out it is about the turnovers for the defensive backs after all. Go figure.

But you can bet the ball hawks also want the victory, because the Bombers (6-9) could use one. If the Blue and Gold win tomorrow, it would mean they could -- at worst -- clinch a home playoff game with a triumph over Hamilton (6-9) in their regular-season finale at home on Nov. 8.

The only way that regular-season finale between the Bombers and Ticats won't determine second place in the East is if one team wins its next two games and the other loses its next two. Possible, but very unlikely.

That's why a win tomorrow would be enormous for the Bombers. So you can bet they are drooling at the prospect of facing McPherson, a 26-year-old out of Florida State who has thrown 19 passes in his CFL career -- including 11 last week in relief of Calvillo.

Bombers head coach Mike Kelly pointed out that Calvillo has experience that is unmatched in the CFL and plays with tremendous poise, but he figures the Alouettes have an attack that allows any quarterback to succeed.

"You never substitute a player of Calvillo's calibre," Kelly said, "but we have great respect for McPherson and we have great respect for their offensive unit and team as a whole."

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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