When Charles Roberts patrolled the backfield for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, 100-yard rushing games were almost as common as the sun rising in the morning.
That’s probably why more than a few Bomber fans have thrown out the notion recently that Fred Reid, who has gone 15 games without reaching the century mark, just might not be the answer at running back.
If they had a suggestion box at Maroons Road, those pieces of paper would be tossed in the circular file.
Head coach Paul LaPolice doesn’t give a darn about Reid not hitting the century mark, and he couldn’t be more pleased with his tailback’s play through five games.
“Fred’s a talented back, and everyone’s like, ‘Oh, he has to get 100. He has to get this.’ He’s doing a tremendous job,” LaPolice said. “He’s a complete back. He reminds me a lot of Wes Cates.
“Fred picked up all the blitzes against a blitzing team last week. Their defensive ends wouldn’t even rush the passer after he cut them twice. They just kind of stood back when he went over to them.
“So he’s a valuable asset. And obviously we’re always going to get him his throws, so he’s an integral part of our offence.”
The quirkiest stat in all the negativity surrounding Reid is that he has a way better career yard per carry average (6.2) than Roberts (5.4). And Reid’s average this year is even better, at 6.3 yards per haul.
Roberts routinely got the ball more than 20 times in a game, while the most touches Reid has in a game since his franchise-record 260 yards against B.C. last August is 16.
Considering his impressive career average, which includes the huge runs and all the small ones of which fans have been critical, it’s no wonder he hasn’t hit triple figures.
Basically, all the Bombers have to do is give Reid the ball as much as they gave it to Roberts, and the whispers will go away.
Not that Reid cares how people keep bringing up the fact it’s been so long since he hit 100 yards in a game. Also, he feels he could be better.
“No, not really. I don’t mind,” he said of the questions about his game. “I know I’ve got plenty of 100-yard games to come. I just gotta keep coming out and working and keep doing things I’m doing and just better. But they’re going to come. We’re going to get back on track with the run game. I’m not worried.”
Reid isn’t concerned about the number of touches he’s getting, either. That’s probably because he’s on pace to make nearly twice as many catches (39) as he had last year (21).
“Oh yeah, I’m most definitely touching the ball enough,” he said. “The coaches, they’re calling good games and they know what they’re doing.
“… I’m getting my fair share, and I just gotta produce whenever I get my hands on it.”