O-linemen have old-school mindset on retro night

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:17 PM ET

Members of the Blue Bomber offensive line took their retro-wear one step further at practice, Thursday, wearing imitation leather helmets as they prepared for Friday’s crucial game with Hamilton.

Guard Brendon LaBatte says they wouldn’t mind carrying that old-school mindset into the game.

“Anytime you’re playing without a face mask, you’re obviously pretty tough and gritty,” LaBatte said. “We can look to emulate a little of that into our game.”

For the first time in four weeks, the front five will be blocking for Buck Pierce, their old-school quarterback, who’s back in the lineup after a knee injury.

While it doesn’t change the way they play, they know the onus is on them to be Pierce’s bodyguards.

“We want to keep him standing up,” LaBatte said. “We know they’re going to bring a lot of stuff. They’re a physical, high-energy line. That’s something we’ve got to be able to counteract.”

LaBatte says Pierce’s style is much the same as backup Steven Jyles, as both can run away from trouble.

Of course, Pierce’s experience does bring some intangibles.

“His competitiveness, and his fire to win and make the plays,” LaBatte said. “He wants to be the one with the ball to make the plays for us. That’s something we all respect a great deal. But Jyles, when he was in there, did the same thing.”

Centre Obby Khan says there’s not much to choose between the two, calling Pierce and Jyles 1-A and 1-AA.

“He brings a little more game experience,” Khan said of Pierce. “He’s probably got a fire burning inside him to play.”

As for the importance of the game, Khan says the players have to treat it the same as any other.

“I’m not going to get more amped up for this game than I did for the first game of the year or than I will for the last game of the year,” Khan said. “If you have that ability to get yourself more amped up, then you’re cheating yourself every other game you play. The result might be more critical, but the approach to the game is exactly the same. That’s what we can control.”

Khan rates the line’s play as “pretty good” so far — with plenty of room for improvement.

“Until we play a game where the quarterback doesn’t get touched once, we can always improve on protecting him.”


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