It was a clean hit that knocked Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo out for 21/2 games the last time the two teams met.
Winnipeg defensive end Odell Willis hopes to renew acquaintances with the future CFL hall-of-famer when the Blue Bombers take on the reigning Grey Cup champs at Canad Inns Stadium on Friday night.
“Oh man, it’s just football — a freak play that happened,” Willis said Thursday. “I didn’t try to cause (an injury). But I understand it’s football. Injuries happen all the time and we just want to come back and keep playing. If he’s out there suited up, I’m sorry if he gets sacked and hurt. My bad. But I’m just doing my job. He gets paid to throw touchdowns and complete passes. I get paid to make tackles and sack quarterbacks.”
Calvillo, who was carted off the Percy Molson Stadium field during the second quarter and rushed to hospital at halftime, suffered a bruised sternum.
“Stuff happens,” Willis said. “When you go against an elite team, you always want to go out there and put your best foot forward. It was a sack but, at the same time, it was kind of tragic because he had to get carted off. But he’s back out there, he’s healthy … So, we need to go out there and knock him around a little bit and hopefully, he doesn’t have to get carted off again, and just have fun.”
Calvillo will be wary of both Willis and defensive end Phillip Hunt, the CFL’s sack leader.
“I’ve been hit many different ways and harder, and it was just one of those fluke things that happened,” he said of the Willis hit. “Basically, their front seven are beasts. Those guys on the end can do a lot of damage, and we respect them so much.”
GAMBLING MAN: Winnipeg head coach Paul LaPolice tried to explain the thinking behind some of the gambles he lost against Toronto last week.
“You evaluate each decision on your process and what you know about your team,” he summed. “You feel good when they work and you feel horrible when they don’t.”
Bomber RB Fred Reid, by the way, took no issue with the third-down gamble play when QB Steven Jyles handed off to FB Andre Sadeghian, who got stuffed for no gain.
“I wasn’t frustrated at all,” Reid said. “I believe in the coaches and I know they’re making the right calls. Their defence just made a good play on the ball and those types of things happen. It doesn’t matter whether they would have given me the ball or somebody else the ball … It is what it is and hopefully, we won’t be in that situation next time.”
KENT IMPRESSIVE: The Bomber defence has been playing its best since DB Clint Kent moved up to strong-side LB to replace the injured Bernard Hicks and CB Jovon Johnson moved inside to allow Deon Beasley to start at CB.
“I like it,” said Kent, an ex-Alouette. “I’ve been in the box and I have to make more tackles now and basically, I just have to cover the No. 3 receiver. And I get to blitz more so, I’m really enjoying it.”
He would also enjoying beating the Als.
“They’re the defending Grey Cup champions so, that would be a great way to turn things around and start a winning streak,” he said.
With files from Kirk Penton