Pierce, Argos have history

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:35 PM ET

The last time Buck Pierce saw Kevin Huntley, it looked like the Toronto Argonauts defensive tackle was attempting to detach the quarterback’s head from his body.

Not on purpose, of course.

“It was a bang-bang,” Huntley said of the Sept. 19, 2009, collision at B.C. Place. “They said I hit him in the head, which I didn’t. I’m 6-8. If I come in full speed and it’s bang-bang … he’s not a small guy either, so they called me on it.”

Pierce, then a member of the B.C. Lions, was playing in his first game back since suffering a concussion a month earlier, also against the Argos. Despite the shot from Huntley, Pierce stayed in the game and completed his next seven passes en route to a 23-17 win.

Pierce was less than convincing Thursday when asked if he still had a problem with Huntley. First he gave a knowing smile and then said “No, no,” in a high-pitched voice that indicated perhaps he wasn’t being 100% truthful.

Pierce claims he has moved on. “We’re good,” he said.

Huntley’s fellow defensive tackle, Adriano Belli, mentioned Pierce’s concussion woes earlier this week and in the same breath said the Argo defence plans to get after him. Pierce is ready for whatever the Boatmen throw at him.

“They’re going to try and get pressure on me,” Pierce said. “Last week Hamilton was dropping eight guys and allowing me to run and kind of move the pocket and make some plays outside of the pocket.

“So they’re going to try and heat me up a little bit, and we’ve got guys that can run away.”

Toronto’s game plan is to keep Pierce contained.

“If he has an opportunity to gash it up the middle, he has the speed to get 20 or 30 yards every time, especially if we’re in man coverage,” said Huntley, who led the Argos last season with nine sacks. “So we’re just going to make sure we keep him in the pocket and make him a passer. If you can make him a passer, he’s a little bit less effective.”

THINK ABOUT OTHERS: Fans attending Friday’s game are asked to bring a nonperishable food item for the Purolator Tackle Hunger program.

The food will go to Winnipeg Harvest. Bomber fans have donated more than 120,000 pounds since the program began in 2003.

LATE HITS: The Bombers will make one change to their starting lineup, with Clint Kent replacing Alex Suber (hamstring) at defensive back … Pierce is 3-0 in his career against the Argos, with two touchdown throws and one interception … Toronto receiver Jeremaine Copeland has 12 receiving touchdowns in 13 career games against Winnipeg … Chad Lucas, who led the Argos with 950 receiving yards last season, will be a healthy scratch on Friday … Cornerback Byron Parker (shoulder) is out, while fellow CB Willie Middlebrooks (knee) and defensive tackle Adriano Belli (suspended) return after missing last week’s opener.

PLAYER TO WATCH

DT Adriano Belli, No. 78

The wacky Canadian defensive tackle noted earlier this week that Bomber quarterback Buck Pierce has a “soft melon” and that the Argos defence was going to get after him. It’ll be up to Winnipeg’s offensive line to keep the Kissing Bandit at bay.

NUMBERS GAME

2003 — The last time the Bombers opened their season with two consecutive wins.

43.5 — Winnipeg’s second-down conversion rate last week against Hamilton. The Bombers had a league-worst 33.9% success rate on second down last season.

7-30 — Toronto’s record since the start of the 2008 season.

WHO'S HOT — BOMBERS

LB Joe Lobendahn, No. 58

The reigning CFL defensive player of the week had eight tackles and two sacks in last week’s dominating win over Hamilton.

WHO'S NOT — BOMBERS

K Alexis Serna, No. 18

Missed three of six attempts, although the coaching staff blamed rookie long snapper Adam Bestard for the problems by cutting him. Serna, however, said he got his foot on them, so he should have made them.

WHO'S HOT — ARGOS

LB Kevin Eiben, No. 35

The Canadian weak-side linebacker had a career-high 11 tackles in last week’s loss to Calgary.

WHO'S NOT — ARGOS

WR Jeremaine Copeland, No. 80

Toronto’s go-to guy had only four catches for 40 yards and a fumble in his Boatmen debut last week.


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