LaPolice playing coy on QB decision

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:44 PM ET

If Paul LaPolice knows who his starting quarterback will be for Sunday's Labour Day Classic, he's not saying.

The Winnipeg Blue Bomber head coach played coy with the media Thursday, putting off his decision, at least publicly, until Friday, at least.

"We may not announce it. But we may make a decision," LaPolice said. "We'll see."

No. 1 quarterback Buck Pierce continued to practice without a brace on his sore right knee, while Steven Jyles took a few more turns with the starting offence.

LaPolice acknowledged wanting to keep the Saskatchewan Roughriders, specifically head coach Ken Miller and defensive co-ordinator Gary Etcheverry, in the dark.

"Absolutely. But as I know coach Miller and coach Etcheverry, they're going to do what they do," LaPolice said. "And they're similar quarterbacks, too, so I don't think it's going to affect them too much."

The last time Pierce started, Aug. 13 against Hamilton, LaPolice pulled him in the first half.

"He threw an interception on an underthrown ball," the coach said. "I didn't feel he could step into his throw a little bit and transfer his weight. If he can do that, then the next thing you're evaluating is his mobility."

Jyles, nursing sore ribs and wearing a flak jacket, is champing at the bit to square off against his old team.

"We're splitting reps right now. That ensures me that it's still a 50-50 chance that I'll start," Jyles said. "Regardless of the situation, I'll be ready for this ball game."

Jyles spent the last two seasons in Saskatchewan, backing up current starter Darian Durant last year.

"You always looked in practice and said, 'Man, I can do this against this guy.' Now I have the chance."

CHESS GAME: The usual matching of strategies takes on a whole new meaning for this game, with LaPolice and both of his co-ordinators -- Jamie Barresi on offence, Kavis Reed on defence -- having come from Saskatchewan.

The Riders still run part of LaPolice's offence. So the coach spent some time tipping off his defensive backs this week.

"We've tried to adjust the things we know," the coach said. "But I'm sure they're scheming some new things."

Predicting what Saskatchewan's varied defence will do is never easy.

"To say that I know what Gary Etcheverry is going to do... from year to year he changes, and from week to week he changes a lot," LaPolice said, adding the best tip he can give his players is how to deal with the crowd noise in Regina.

As well as the Bombers know Saskatchewan, the Riders could have a leg up on the tendencies of LaPolice and his staff, too.

In addition, former Bomber coaches Doug Berry and Bob Dyce are running the Riders offence.

MORE CHANGES: Linebacker Bernard Hicks hurt his knee in Montreal and will be out a week or two.

Clint Kent will take his place in Regina.

Meanwhile, receiver Terrence Edwards (ankle) missed his second day of practice, Thursday, but LaPolice still expects him to play.

"You can tell him something once in a meeting, he can execute it on the field."

RIVALRY ROOKIES: First-year CFLers like Marcellus Bowman and Alex Suber don't know much about the Labour Day Classic.

"They told me it's going to be a lot of green, and just be ready to play football," Bowman, back as a starting linebacker, said.

Suber, a defensive back, says teammates aren't saying much, probably because they don't want to overemphasize it.

The fans, that's another story.

"The fans I've spoken to say it's the biggest thing here," he said.

(with files from Kirk Penton)


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