Bombers pass first ball to Elliott

Blue Bomber QB Joey Elliot (right), seen practising with Alex Brink, gets the first chance to...

Blue Bomber QB Joey Elliot (right), seen practising with Alex Brink, gets the first chance to impress under centre in Thursday’s exhibition game at Montreal. Brink and Justin Goltz are also expected to see action. (QMI Agency file photo)

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:12 PM ET

WINNIPEG - Joey Elliott has the first chance to impress in the battle of the backup quarterbacks.

The second-year pivot from Purdue will be behind centre when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers take on the Montreal Alouettes Thursday at Molson Percival Memorial Stadium (6:30 p.m., TSN, CJOB).

“We have to go out and compete, there’s a lot of young guys trying to go out and earn a spot on the team,” said Elliott, who joined the Blue Bombers in July of last season and went from being the fourth stringer to starting the final two games. “It’s my first pre-season game, I’m pretty excited. I’ve got to execute, go through my reads, just like it was a real game. I’ve got to get completions. You can’t worry about touchdowns, you can’t worry about yards. You can only worry about getting through your reads and making plays as a quarterback.”

Elliott’s ascent up the depth chart was a combination of injury and strong play, but now he’s back at Square 1 trying to establish himself firmly as the No. 2 guy behind Buck Pierce.

“We’re all behind Buck Pierce as our starter and any time one of us gets our name called, we try to go out there and execute the plays that we draw up on the board in meetings,” said Elliott. “As quarterbacks, we’re all trying to compete and get better and learn from each other.

“My experience from last year allowed me to come back here this year. Being a fourth-string guy, you never know when you’re going to get cut. Being able to play those games helped me come back to compete for a spot and keep myself on the roster.”

Blue Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice confirmed Pierce won’t be making the trip to Montreal, so look for Elliott to take a good chunk of the snaps during the first half before giving way to Alex Brink.

Justin Goltz will also see game action.

LaPolice is happy with the growth his backups are showing.

“The interesting thing was that Joey wasn’t even in camp last year,” said LaPolice. “It’s a growing process and every day the game slows down for those guys.”

UPDATING THE WALKING WOUNDED: The list grew by one offensive lineman as import tackle Glenn January left the workout early with a groin strain.

January was working with the first-team offence at right tackle and is in a battle with Kelly Butler for that spot.

Look for Butler to make the start on Thursday against the Alouettes.

LaPolice said January’s injury didn’t appear to be overly serious, so he could be back on the field Saturday or Sunday.

Remaining on the sidelines on Tuesday were receivers Kito Poblah (Achilles), Greg Carr (hamstring), Damian Sherman (hamstring), Aaron Hargreaves (ankle) and Scott McHenry (neck).

MORE TICKETS SOLD: The Blue Bombers announced they hit 20,000 in season ticket sales on Tuesday and pointed out there are only 2,500 more season ticket packages available prior to the deadline of June 23, which also happens to be the night the team wraps up the pre-season with a game against the Toronto Argonauts.

“It’s a banner day for the Winnipeg Football Club,” said Blue Bombers president and CEO Jim Bell. “The support of our fans has been incredible.”

Bell conceded there was some work to be done to catch the Saskatchewan Roughriders in terms of season-ticket supremacy, but was encouraged by the response of fans nonetheless..

“If they’re the pinnacle, we’re starting to close the gap,” said Bell. “We look forward to catching them one day. We’ll enjoy the success of the day and continue to make strides in that direction.”

CAMPING OUT

Three stars of the day

The offence had a few issues in the early stages of the session so there weren’t many noteworthy performances there. However, we’ll provide a quick tip of the cap to receiver Cory Watson. On defence, DB Alex Suber had a nice pick off Alex Brink, but the biggest ovation was reserved for DT Don Oramasionwu, who intercepted a Justin Goltz pass and rumbled into the end zone before he was mobbed by his teammates.

Catch of the day

It’s not every day a defensive lineman finds paydirt, so Oramasionwu gets the nod for his late INT that turned into an imaginary six points.

Quote of the day

“He was awesome. He was saying, I know you guys get bored with repetition but as a pilot, you have to have repetition because it’s muscle memory. When we make a mistake in a plane, we can die. It was a great message.”

— Blue Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice on the inspired chat retired pilot Gary Cook gave the defensive linemen before the second workout on Tuesday.

Tweet of the day

“No rookie sang a song with as much heart and stage presence as LB John Surla! TSN should’ve filmed THAT TOO!!!”

— Blue Bombers long snapper Chris Cvetkovic or @cvety50, talking about the rookie initiation.

The schedule

The Blue Bombers travel to Montreal on Wednesday and will go through a walk-through for Thursday’s preseason pre-season tilt against the Alouettes. The game goes at 6:30 p.m. and can be seen live on TSN and heard on 680 CJOB.


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