Eskimos led by 'genius': Blue cornerback

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:13 AM ET

WINNIPEG - Jovon Johnson spent only one season with Kavis Reed as his defensive co-ordinator, but it’s safe to say he came away impressed.

The Bombers cornerback is not shocked the Edmonton Eskimos are 5-0 under Reed, who left Winnipeg in the off-season to become the head coach of the Green and Gold.

“I’m not at all surprised because of the fact that he’s a genius,” Johnson said.

A genius?

“He is a genius,” Johnson repeated. “Kavis Reed is a genius, I promise you that. He knows how to win. He’s so smart. He spends a lot of time evaluating and going over things. So I wouldn’t be surprised if they came out doing things that we’ve never seen before.”

The Bombers (4-1) and Eskimos will meet in a clash of division leaders on Friday night at Canad Inns Stadium, and it should be an interesting chess match considering Reed knows the Bomber defence so well.

“Yeah, he knows our tendencies and he knows our strengths and weaknesses, but we’ll give him a different variety of things, though,” Johnson said.

Reed spent only one season in River City, but he left an indelible impression in the locker-room, most notably with the defensive backs.

“He’s always looking for ways to help a guy out, whether it’s resting your legs when he knows you’re tired or seeing something on film that he knows teams are going to attack and he’s always giving you the heads up,” Johnson said. “That’s what I respect about him, and I love the guy to death. He’s a great coach.

“… He’s a real player’s coach. He wants to know his players, and he spends a lot of time getting to know his players outside of football, as far as what they’ve been through in life. That’s always good as a coach. You can respect a guy who wants to know you inside and out.”

The man who replaced Reed, Tim Burke, has put his own stamp on the Bomber defence this year, but the former defensive boss believes his fingerprints are still all over the unit.

“They’ve gone from young pups to full-grown dogs,” Reed told the Globe and Mail. “It’s hard to watch them on film because you find yourself smiling at the things they’re doing.”

The Eskimos, with a rejuvenated Ricky Ray at quarterback, lead the league in total yards and are second in points scored. The Bombers, meanwhile, have allowed the fewest yards and points through five weeks.

As for Reed also knowing the tendencies of Winnipeg’s offensive play caller, Paul LaPolice, after spending 2009 and 2010 together, the Bomber head coach believes it won’t have that much of an impact on the contest.

“I know Kavis, and he knows me in some ways, but the game’s bigger than both of us,” LaPolice said. “It’s about the players executing what you call, being in the right spot at the right time, protecting the football, and our home crowd being louder than anything.”


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