Blue pride bursting

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:29 PM ET

Fred Reid will never be known as a shrinking Blue violet.

The Winnipeg tailback defied the new regime’s restraints and risked a fine with his unbridled enthusiasm Thursday.

The Blue Bombers beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in their home opener 49-29 last week and host another CFL East opponent when they take on the Toronto Argonauts at Canad Inns Stadium on Friday at 7 p.m.

“Now we’ve got to keep it going,” Reid said. “That’s Game 1 and we’ve got 17 to go, plus the playoffs, so that’s really 20 more to go, including the Grey Cup. So, we want to keep it rolling and build off that win.”

Bomber head coach Paul LaPolice, you may recall, instituted a $5 fine for any player or coach who says the words “Grey Cup” in interviews.

“(Last week) was a big confidence-builder for us, a division game against Hamilton and they beat us last year and knocked us out of the playoffs,” Reid said. “That gave us a lot of confidence — it was the first home game in front of a home crowd with the new coaches and new system. We came out and put some points up and that gives a lot of fans confidence that we’re going to have a good team this year.”

But it was just one win in an 18-game schedule.

“The big challenge for us this week is, can we match the energy?” said veteran defensive tackle Doug Brown. “Toronto’s going to have a lot of energy because they weren’t successful last week and we’ve been busy patting ourselves on the back, and you can’t let that be a detriment to your on-field display. You can celebrate and congratulate yourself for maybe the first day after a game, but it’s going to be even a harder a contest for us to be successful this Friday against a team that’s winless right now.

“So, we need to match the energy and the intensity of Toronto coming in here because they’re going to be hungry.”

The Argos lost 30-16 to the Stampeders in Calgary last week.

“Toronto’s going to come to kick our butts so, we have to go out there and stay within ourselves on offence and be smart, continue to stay disciplined and not give their defence any momentum,” said Bomber quarterback Buck Pierce. “We’re at home, we like playing in front of our fans so, we want to keep that momentum on our side.

“Going into the game we feel like we’re going to win. We feel confident but we need to be consistent week in and week out.”

But that does not mean the Bombers are overconfident playing against a rebuilding franchise and a new, inexperienced quarterback (Cleo Lemon).

“We can’t take this team lightly,” Reid insisted. “They’ve got a new coach (Jim Barker) over there, a new system and there’s no telling how they’re going to come out. But they’re going to come out and play us hard, and we’ve just got to play hard back.”

Dating back to last season, the Argos have lost nine consecutive games and eight straight on the road.

“Just stop losing, period, is important to us,” said Toronto defensive lineman Kevin Huntley. “If you’re a good player but you just can’t, for some reason, win the big game or make the big shot or make the big catch, even though you know you’re good, it messes with your mindset.”

Winnipeg cornerback Jovon Johnson hopes the Bombers continue to mess with that mindset.

“Any time you go against a divisional opponent at home, you want to win that game,” he said.

“If you want to be a dominating team at home, you’ve got to play well at home,” LaPolice underscored.

— With files from Kirk Penton


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