WINNIPEG - Kito Poblah would gladly take a 98-yard touchdown catch on Thursday night against the Toronto Argonauts.
If that can’t happen, though, the receiver will be just as happy to run the right routes all night long when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers finish off their pre-season schedule. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
“Everybody wants to have a big performance. That’s the goal,” Poblah said.
“But you have to think about the little things that get you to that big performance, like knowing the plays and knowing what you gotta do, to be in a position to make big plays.
“That would obviously correlate to having a big game.”
Poblah missed last week’s game in Montreal with an Achilles tendon injury, so Thursday’s contest will represent his first pro game. Add in the fact he’s battling for a starting spot in the receiving corps, and it’s a big night for the first-round supplemental draft pick.
Poblah, however, sees Thursday’s tilt as the beginning of a long journey — and not the potential end.
“It’s a start,” he said. “It’s a start to my career as a Blue Bomber, so I’m really excited. I’m just going to go out there and play.”
Poblah must be listening closely to his coach, because Paul LaPolice said pre-season game performances aren’t the only things that matter. Practice plays a significant role as well.
“Sometimes players just expect they’re going to make the team off the pre-season games, and that’s truly not the case,” he said.
With that in mind, here are the position battles to watch Thursday night. The Bombers must cut to 46 players and a seven-man practice roster by Saturday at 2 p.m.
— Right tackle — Kelly Butler is the incumbent since Glenn January missed all of 2010 with a torn pectoral muscle. January also missed last week’s pre-season opener, so he’ll get at least three quarters of action against the Boatmen.
— Canadian receiver — Cory Watson is certain to get one of the two spots, while Poblah is the frontrunner for the second. If that’s the case, Jade Etienne, Josh Bishop and David McKoy are battling for the backup spots.
— Defensive end — The Bombers are looking for Phillip Hunt’s replacement, and it’s a three-man battle between Kenny Mainor, Jason Vega and Remond Willis.
“We’ve all worked pretty hard, so whatever the coaches need me to do I’m ready to do,” Mainor said. “Collectively we’ve all done well.”
— Secondary — Interestingly, Brandon Stewart will get the start at the cornerback spot opposite Jovon Johnson. Deon Beasley and Johnny Sears are listed as the backups at corner and half, respectively, on the depth chart.