‘Dog Man’ ready to growl in return to Blue and Gold

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:19 PM ET

The ‘Dog Man’ is back and ready to hunt down and ravage kick returners of any shape or size.

Import linebacker Derrick Doggett has returned to rejuvenate the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ not-so-special special teams.

The Bombers have surrendered three touchdowns on kick returns in the first two games of the season. Doggett was not only fifth in the CFL with 27 special teams tackles in 15 games last season, he often hit returners like a steam engine.

“It’s good to have a guy who’s one of the best special teamers in the CFL, and we’re trying to get him ready to play this week,” Bomber head coach Paul LaPolice said Monday.

The Bombers play against the Tiger-Cats in Hamilton on Friday. Hamilton kick returner Marcus Thigpen scored two TDs on kick returns in their first meeting, July 2 at Canad Inns Stadium.

“When we talk to those guys, we tell them, ‘Your job is to wreak havoc on special teams and to make plays,’ and if he can do that, he will be somebody who stays on the roster for us,” LaPolice said. “We’ll try to get him up to speed as good as we can. We recognize we had a few issues the last two games so that helps us address those issues.”

“I’m just going to have the mindset that I’m going to make the plays and nobody can block you or whatever so, I’m just going to run down there thinking I can make the play every time, so that helps me a lot,” said Doggett, 25.

“Yeah, I think I can help. I’ll just play like I play and just help out. It feels good just to get the hang of everything and get ready.”

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Oregon State product returns after a failed tryout with the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers.

"I learned lot (in Pittsburgh)," Doggett said. "I got to play with a lot of great players, like James Harrison, Troy Palamalu and LaMarr Woodley, and had one of the best D co-ordinators (Dick LeBeau), so it was a great experience."

DORIAN OUT: Import defensive lineman Dorian Smith will miss the next 4-6 weeks with a knee injury but is unlikely to need surgery, LaPolice said. Either import DL Moton Hopkins or Don Oramasionwu, a non-import, will replace him … S Ian Logan (hamstring) did not practise Monday and is doubtful to play Friday. Brady Browne practised at safety with the No. 1 defence … Both DB Alex Suber (hamstring) and RB Daryl Stephenson (undisclosed) also missed practice … It also looked like both QB Buck Pierce and DL Doug Brown were given some extra rest Monday.

NEW GUY: The Bombers welcomed import DB Deon Beasley to practice Monday. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Texas product can also return kicks.

“Another defensive back we’re going to evaluate,” LaPolice said, adding that the club needed extra bodes with likes of Keyuo Craver (out for year) and Suber out with injuries.

FOOD RECORD: The Bombers set a record when a total of 49,250 pounds of food were donated to the Purolator Tackle Hunger campaign at last Friday's home game, a Purolator spokesperson related. It will all go towards Winnipeg Harvest.

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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