Blue can’t cowboy up

Bomber head coach Paul LaPolice, who coincidentally (or not?) was Winnipeg’s offensive co-ordinator...

Bomber head coach Paul LaPolice, who coincidentally (or not?) was Winnipeg’s offensive co-ordinator when the Blue and Gold last tasted victory in Cowtown, is not about to throw a hissy fit now that the injury bug is laying a beatdown on his squad.

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:07 AM ET

The No. 1 quarterback, Buck Pierce, is out for the second straight week.

The league-leading punter, Mike Renaud, is hurt and won’t play.

One of the starting left tackles, Glenn January, is on the nine-game injured list. So is the long snapper, Chris Cvetkovic. And the special teams captain, Shawn Gallant.

The starting weak-side linebacker, Marcellus Bowman, has to take a seat this week because of a hand injury.

Odell Willis, the sack machine at defensive end, who no doubt would’ve been more than excited to play his former team, is back in the U.S. dealing with an immigration problem.

One of the starting defensive tackles, Dorian Smith, was back practising a bit on Thursday, but he’s probably at least a week away from returning.

Oh, and did we mention that the Winnipeg Blue Bombers haven’t beaten the Calgary Stampeders at McMahon Stadium since October 2002?

Winnipeg has lost seven straight in the Alberta city, and Calgary’s average margin of victory in those wins was 15 points.

Winnipeg (2-2) and Calgary (3-1) meet again on Saturday night at McMahon.

You probably couldn’t fault the Bombers if they mailed the two points to the Stampeders to save on airfare and accommodations.

Hey, it ain’t cheap putting so many players on the nine-game injured list.

“Too many guys are allergic to horses and saddles and cowboys,” said defensive tackle Doug Brown, one of two current Bombers who were with the team when it last won in Calgary. Fullback Jon Oosterhuis is the other.

“I don’t know what it is over there. It’s the elevation maybe. But now we got all these (former) Bombers over there, so maybe it’s different now. With all the Bomber presence we have over there, maybe that’s going to counteract the forces that have kept us from winning over the years.”

Good luck with that, Mr. Brown.

Bomber head coach Paul LaPolice, who coincidentally (or not?) was Winnipeg’s offensive co-ordinator when the Blue and Gold last tasted victory in Cowtown, is not about to throw a hissy fit now that the injury bug is laying a beatdown on his squad.

“What am I going to do? Stay at home?” LaPolice said. “Every team in the CFL has something — we don’t have this, or we don’t have that.

“Hey, our job’s to find a way to win. We have good players here, and we kept the players here that are backups so they can have an opportunity to compete.

“We’ve overcome adversity with injuries. That’s part of the game, so we can’t use it as an excuse. We gotta find a way to win with the players here. That’s the message we’ve preached since day one.”

LaPolice has said all along that backups must be ready to take over at any time and perform, citing defensive tackle Moton Hopkins as a prime example.

In addition, teams that aren’t supposed to win usually come out fighting.

LaPolice also downplayed Winnipeg’s lack of success in Calgary over the years.

“It’s a whole new team,” he said. “How do you win? You execute better than the other team.”

True, but that’s easier said than done when teammates are introducing themselves during the warmup.

“It’s getting old, the ‘Hey, I’m Doug Brown,’” Brown said. “Normally I’m meeting a new D tackle every year. Now it’s every week. And new ends, too.

“We’ve been banged up the entire year, so we’re used to it. That’s how we feel right now. We’ve got good depth, and we’ve got guys filling in.

“Every week it’s been one position or another, so that’s the nature of the game. Granted, we’ve been getting a lot more of that ‘nature’ lately, but that’s the reality of football.”


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