Bombers QB decision down to the wire

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:29 PM ET

The game is still more than 24 hours away, but the games have already begun.

And Winnipeg Blue Bomber boss Paul LaPolice plans to play them right up until the last, possible minute.

The first-year head coach says he probably won't reveal his starting quarterback before Sunday's Labour Day Classic.

"We'll make a decision but we probably won't publish that decision," LaPolice said following his team's last full practice, Friday. "Give Saskatchewan a little more to think about. The quarterbacks will know. And they just won't be allowed to talk to you guys."

The move marks a change in strategy for LaPolice. In previous games in which he's carried both Buck Pierce and Steven Jyles on the roster, he's made it clear days in advance who'd be starting.

A sign of the critical nature of Sunday's contest?

"I'm sure coach (Ken) Miller's telling them it doesn't matter who they play. And they're going to line up and do what they do on defence," LaPolice said. "Because we'd say the same thing."

Then why the secrecy?

"Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe their coaches may have a different scheme for each guy. You always want to try to hold and get any advantage possible."

Pierce and Jyles took turns with the No. 1 offence in practice, Pierce with his right knee heavily taped, Jyles with some extra rib protection.

If LaPolice deems Pierce's mobility up to snuff, he'll go with his No. 1 pivot for the fifth time this season. If not, Jyles would get his fifth start.

Both have won once for the 2-6 Bombers.

Neither quarterback seemed bothered by the late decision.

"Coach said he'd wait until the end of the week to let us know," Jyles said. "We still have to (Saturday), the way I look at it. We're both ready."

Pierce said he's been allowed to push through the pain in his knee this week, without holding back.

"I showed some things with my leg that they were looking to see," he said. "But game situations are different, so we'll see what they decide to do... either starting or coming off the bench, I'll be prepared."

Pierce was ineffective in his last start, Week 7 against Hamilton, partly because of his knee, first injured Week 3.

"I feel a lot better," he said. "Then it was a situation where I forced my hand a little bit. I don't think it really set me back, but it showed you need a healthy guy out there."

Both quarterbacks like to run with the ball, so it's not like the Riders defence has to prepare for two different styles.

The man snapping the ball says it might still throw Saskatchewan off a bit to wonder who'll play.

"You get a little confusion in them, and they don't know what's going to happen," centre Obby Khan said. "Their game plan will be similar, but maybe their mental psyche might be a little different."


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