Flu bug hits Bombers

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:47 PM ET

It was like a Blue Bombers’ version of ‘Where’s Waldo’ during Friday’s training camp.

“Where’s Serna?” asked one observer.

“Don’t see him, where’s Khan?” another responded.

“Do you see Morley anywhere?” asked another.

And there were more. The flu bug has bitten about a dozen Blue Bombers two days before Winnipeg’s first pre-season game under its new regime (and yes, Saskatchewan fans, that’s 12, not 13).

“When I got up this morning, I got a text that four of our offensive linemen are sick,” said Bomber head coach Paul LaPolice. “(Friday) was really us trying to adapt. We had 12 guys out with the flu going through the time and we had a couple of injured guys on top of that so we changed practice.”

Aside from Obby Khan and Steve Morley, Luke Fritz and Chris Greaves were the other O-lineman out.

“It hurts you when those guys don’t get a chance to practise together because (Saturday) we don’t do anything,” LaPolice said, referring to the pre-game walk-through. “They’re going to be in a game in two days. Hopefully they can overcome it but yeah, it’s not good when you have 12 guys miss practice.”

And, contrary to speculation, placekicker Alexis Serna did not call in sick so he could watch the World Cup, especially with Mexico playing.

“Not good,” LaPolice said. “But, we’ll do our best to adapt and the guys will be ready.”

With Serna out, punter Mike Renaud booted the odd short field goal during practice.

QB ROTATION: Quarterbacks Steven Jyles and Buck Pierce will each play a quarter in the first half of Sunday’s exhibition game against the Montreal Alouettes, with each one to also get a series in the third quarter, LaPolice said.

Adam DiMichele and Alex Brink will finish up.

The Bombers have tested using microphones in the quarterbacks’ helmets for two days this week.

“I’ve had it in the NFL and it’s a great system,” Brink said. “It helps run things a little smoother, especially with the quick play clock. You’ve got 20 seconds and it’s hard to signal and play sometimes. So that system’s going to be a help for us.”

LaPolice, by the way, was not worried about spies picking up their conversations.

“The league has made sure they’re going to be scrambled, just like our headsets,” he said.

HOGGING 100th: The CFL confirmed Friday that Toronto has been awarded the 100th Grey Cup game, to be played Nov. 25, 2012.

“The very first Grey Cup was played here in Toronto, at Rosedale Field in 1909, and we’re coming back to celebrate all that the Grey Cup and Canada have come to mean to each other since that day,” CFL commissioner Mark Cohon said in a release.

“Nothing brings Canadians together like the Grey Cup, and the 2012 Grey Cup, our hundredth, promises to be an incredible celebration not only of the Grey Cup’s glorious and storied past, but also its bright future.”

Senator David Braley, owner of the Toronto Argonauts, pointed out the most recent Grey Cup in Hogtown in 2007 — when the Bombers lost to the Saskatchewan Roughriders — generated more than $80.1 million in economic activity in Ontario, with $52.9 million of that in Toronto.

BRAWLING: One day after spending almost the entire practice explaining the CFL’s rules and regulations and the consequences of being caught fighting during a game, a skirmish broke out at Winnipeg’s afternoon session.

“I wouldn’t call it strange, I would call it the first day of thumping (at the goal-line),” LaPolice said. “We’ll address that (Friday night) again and discuss what penalties would have been enforced and what we would have dropped back to (in penalty yardage). It’s a learning process, and it was a very good practice for all the adversity we faced.”

There were a number of Bombers involved with OL Kelly Butler, DL Philip Hunt and DB Jason Tate losing their helmets in the heat of the moment.

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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