Labour Day Classic not what it used to be

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:25 AM ET

For Doug Brown, the Labour Day Classic sure ain’t what it used to be.

The veteran Blue Bomber defensive lineman was on the winning side in three of his first four Classic outings, starting with his rookie season in 2001.

Now he’s on a five-game Regina losing streak.

“Back in my early days I used to think going to Labour Day and being in Saskatchewan was my rite of passage as a Winnipeg Blue Bomber,” Brown said. “It’s kind of been taken away from me the last few years. But I still have fond memories of those victories.”

It never ceases to amaze Brown what the crazy home crowd does for the Riders.

“I still remember the first time I went out there,” he said. “We’d already played Saskatchewan that year, and then I played them Labour Day. You don’t think offensive linemen ever have another gear — they’re usually in first or in neutral. But these guys, wow, they found it. They were pretty motivated, and they really play on behalf of their fans.”

CH-CH-CHANGES: It’s a familiar tune: another game, another handful of lineup changes for the Bombers, all on defence.

Newcomer Deon Beasley is expected to get his first start at cornerback, while Jovon Johnson moves inside to halfback.

Alex Suber will patrol the other halfback spot, while Clint Kent takes over from Bernard Hicks (knee) at linebacker.

Expect Brandon Stewart to see plenty of action as the sixth defensive back.

The good news is Ian Logan is back at safety, rookie Marcellus Bowman at linebacker.

“Some things are out of your control,” coach Paul LaPolice said of the moves. “Getting two guys who are starting for us helps.”

On offence, receiver Terrence Edwards has shaken off a sore ankle, and looks good to go.

HOMECOMING: LaPolice doesn’t expect a friendly welcome back from Rider Nation, even though he co-ordinated Saskatchewan’s offence the last two years.

“They’ll see me as a guy in blue and gold, and not a guy who used to be in green and white,” the coach said, chuckling. “I hope they remember I tried real hard to help them achieve success, and we had some good success there. But once the lights go on, once the game starts, they’re not going to care.”

– Friesen


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