WINNIPEG - Football coaches are generally loathe to reveal game plans, but when it comes to the defensive schemes that are going to be employed by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers this week, little will be left to the imagination.
At the top of the list of priorities for the Blue and Gold as they prepare to face the Toronto Argonauts on Friday night is trying to find a way to stop — or at least contain — star running back Cory Boyd.
“You want to limit these guys to a point where they’re pretty much not existent in the game” said Blue Bombers defensive end Don Oramasionwu. “With Boyd, that’s tough to do. But that’s our goal, to get him out of the game and then let Cleo (Lemon) try to beat us.”
That’s not a shot at Lemon, the second-year Argos starter — and former NFLer — either.
Both head coach Paul LaPolice and defensive co-ordinator Tim Burke see progression in Lemon’s game, but there’s a better chance of Boyd beating the Blue Bombers with his legs than Lemon beating them with his arm.
“(Lemon) is definitely a good player and he’s gotten better as he’s been progressing — he’s doing a lot of moving around on the offence,” said Blue Bombers defensive back Alex Suber, who was the defensive player of the week after his pivotal interception return for a touchdown last Friday against Hamilton. “Toronto is probably the most committed team to running the ball, so we’ll have to stop the run.”
Although the Blue Bombers did a pretty decent job limiting Avon Cobourne’s production in Week 1, Boyd — who rushed 17 times for 100 yards and a touchdown in a win over the Calgary Stampeders last week — presents his own set of challenges.
“Cory is a different kind of runner,” said Burke. “Avon can be a power runner at times, Cory is a much bigger back and he can run over guys. What’s deceiving about him is he’s a little faster than you think he is.”
One of the keys to limiting Boyd is to tackle him when the opportunity presents itself.
“He’s such a powerful runner,” said Blue Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice. “You have to wrap him up and if you miss the tackle, it’s going to be big yardage. The other thing he does is that on a run where most backs may get three or four yards, he ends up getting six to seven because he has such a good forward-lean and he’s always pushing the pile forward.”
Kickoff is 6:35 p.m. at Canad Inns Stadium on Friday (TSN, CJOB).