Bombers remain consistent

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:41 AM ET

For the first time this season, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers will not be making a change to their starting lineup.

The Blue and Gold made 26 alterations to their starting 24 in the nine games since the season-opener, mostly due to injuries. They will, however, ride a wave of consistency into Sunday’s critical clash with the Toronto Argos.

The only roster switch involves backup Canadians, with Toronto native Chris Smith going on for the injured Brady Browne (ankle).

“You like to have consistency in your roster. That helps our ability to win football games,” head coach Paul LaPolice said. “Now, some teams go through no changes and they lose football games, too, but the more guys play together the more comfortable they are.”

The same can’t be said for the Argos, who will be making as many as seven personnel moves on Sunday.

One of the more critical changes will occur at left tackle, where Shannon Boatman will make his first pro start at the position and be put in charge of stopping Bomber defensive end terrors Phil Hunt and Odell Willis.

“I’m ready to go,” Boatman said with a chuckle. “I don’t have a choice.”

Boatman, who played right tackle and right guard at Florida State, spent the entire 2009 season with the Argos but didn’t dress for any games. He has made four starts at right tackle this season, and he will now shift over to protect Argo quarterback Cleo Lemon’s blind side in place of the injured Rob Murphy (heel).

Boatman loves horror flicks, but he must have been squirming in his seat this week while watching tape of Hunt and Willis.

“It’s going to be a tough one. I have my hands full,” Boatman said. “I just have to go out and be ready for them. They have different moves. There’s just so much that they can do.”

While Boatman said the difference between right to left tackle is like “night and day,” Argos head coach Jim Barker believes the 6-foot-6, 342-pound Texas product is up to the challenge.

“The reason we keep him around is because he can do it pretty easily,” Barker said.

Hunt, meanwhile, had no idea who was going to be playing left tackle for the Argos. Nor did he seem to be spending too much time thinking about it.

“Regardless of how much attention they pay I’m just going to go out here and perform at my highest level and hopefully come out with a victory,” said Hunt, who leads the CFL with nine sacks.

“I have a feeling they’re going to scheme against us, but pure athleticism and just hard work and dedication and passion of getting to the quarterback overcomes all schemes. We’ll have a few chances to get back there at Cleo Lemon.”


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