Blue expecting big things

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:02 PM ET

Of the four players who came over from Edmonton with Mike Kelly last winter, only one remains.

Fred Perry, Stefan LeFors and Siddeeq Shabazz are all gone, but Canadian receiver Brock Ralph continues to wear Blue and Gold. And Ralph isn't just here; the brass is expecting big things out of the Raymond, Alta., product.

In fact, head man Paul LaPolice said there's no reason why Ralph can't be a 1,000-yard receiver this season.

"We're hoping he has the best year of his career," LaPolice said. "We're going to try to put him in a position to be successful.

"... He could be somebody who really has a deep threat ability for us."

In other words, Ralph doesn't have to be nervous that he's missing Sunday's pre-season in finale against Hamilton with a minor knee problem.

He can start gearing up for the July 2 season- and home-opener against the Tiger-Cats knowing the coaching staff is behind him.

"When I talked to them this off-season they said I was a part of their plans, but I've been anxious for a new opportunity and trying to prove myself all over again," Ralph said Friday. "And for me that's been the story of my career. I've had eight head coaches in eight years, so you never can get too comfortable when those are the circumstances."

Ralph goes way back with LaPolice and offensive co-ordinator Jamie Barresi, as the three spent five games together with the Tiger-Cats at the end of the 2005 season.

LaPolice and Barresi were let go at the end of the campaign, but they meet again five years later in the small world that is the CFL.

It's all gravy for Ralph, who is a month away from his 30th birthday. He gets a contemporary CFL offence to work in, he has history with the head coach and offensive co-ordinator, he has a proven quarterback in Buck Pierce throwing balls to him, and he's had a year to find his place in the Bomber locker-room.

"It's a year where some of the baggage is left behind in terms of just being able to focus on football," Ralph said. "I'm really feeling comfortable where I'm at."

Ralph's best season was with the Tiger-Cats in 2007, when he hauled in 50 balls for 721 yards and three touchdowns. Last year was not bad -- relatively speaking, of course -- as he hauled in 43 passes for 559 yards and two touchdowns. It was his third-best season since he joined the league in 2003.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound University of Wyoming product isn't big on talking about the personal numbers he's shooting for this season, but he has no problem discussing team goals.

"I just want to win," said Ralph, who has been on just two teams with winning records in his seven CFL seasons. "I want to know what this city would feel like to win in, and I want to be able to look the other guys in the league in the face and have them know that they've got their work cut out when they line up against us."


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