Give Fred the ball

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:07 PM ET

There are three weeks to go in the CFL season, and Fred Reid is within striking distance of the rushing title.

The Bomber tailback has 1,150 yards, and he trails Toronto’s Cory Boyd by just 55 yards despite carrying the ball 24 fewer times than the Argonaut rookie. Multiply that difference by his sparkling 6.3-yard average per carry and Reid would have the lead if he got the ball more.

Not that he needs it more.

“It could be more, but we’re just getting in a lot of situations in games where we have to pass the ball a lot, where we’re down, and it just takes away from the running game,” Reid said.

“Hopefully these last three games we can be up and I can get a good load of carries.”

Reid is second in the league when it comes to rushing yards, but he is fourth among the six full-time starting tailbacks when it comes to carries. The Bomber offence focuses on the pass, but Reid has been able to make the most of his opportunities.

The 28-year-old, who is in second full season as Winnipeg’s No. 1 running back, managed only a 5.8-yard average per carry last season, and he’s still not happy this year even though he’s added half a yard to each haul.

“I’m pretty proud, but I think it can be better,” he said. “I always expect myself to be better than that. I’ll never be satisfied with what I’m at.

“It’s a good average, don’t get me wrong, but I always think I can do better.”

Reid is on pace to finish with 19 fewer carries than he had last season but almost the same number of yards (1,380 to 1,371 in 2009). Head coach Paul LaPolice said the entire offence has to be clicking if Reid is going to get a good chunk of carries in a game.

“For him to get up to 16 or 17 carries we gotta either be successful on first-and-10 or we need to be converting on second down,” LaPolice said.

The Bombers did neither on Sunday in Montreal, which is why, LaPolice said, Reid got two carries in the second half of a close contest and finished with only 10 overall.

Reid had three 100-yard outings in four games between mid-August and mid-September, but he’s averaged only 61 yards in his last four contests.

Expect him to turn it up down the stretch, as he gets to go head-to-head with Boyd on Saturday when the Argos (7-8) visit the Bombers (4-11) and then with Joffrey Reynolds, who is third with 1,103 yards, when Calgary comes to town on Nov. 5.

“I see the race is tight between us, and it’s work time now,” Reid said. “I know all three of us, we want to be leading the league, and hopefully I can come out on top and do it.”

Reid is catching a break this week, as the Argos will be without enormous defensive tackle Kevin Huntley on Saturday due to a shoulder injury.


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