Protecting Pierce job No. 1

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:44 AM ET

WINNIPEG - It’s the game that cost the Blue Bombers so much more than two points in the standings a year ago.

But the men who protect quarterback Buck Pierce, and Pierce himself, will tell you there are no psychological hurdles to overcome at Taylor Field in Regina on the Labour Day weekend.

That said, it can’t hurt to be reminded how important it is to keep Pierce in one piece.

“You try not to think about that, and let that have a whole lot of bearing in terms of your mindset going into the game,” guard Brendon LaBatte said, recalling the gruesome dislocated elbow his quarterback suffered in Regina last season. “They happened to get to him last year. It was kind of a freak play. We gotta make sure we do our best in terms of keeping him upright and avoiding all those situations as best we can.”

LaBatte can remember the play like it was yesterday.

He was playing tackle at the time, filling in for the injured Glenn January, who’d torn a pectoral muscle and missed the entire 2010 season.

“He and I kind of go through the same boat,” January said of Pierce. “Every week is a new experience this season, coming back from injuries.”

As for Pierce, he’s quick to pile another shovel full of dirt on the memory of his last trip to Regina.

“I’ve played so many games since then, it’s not really a thought anymore,” Pierce said, suggesting he already cleared those psychological hurdles early in the season. “It’s in the past. Let’s just leave it there.”

ESPIONAGE 101: The Riders pulled an old trick out of the book by bringing in fullback Scott McHenry, a day after the Bombers released him this week.

LaPolice, though, downplayed the secrets the Riders might learn from him.

“We talked about that,” the coach said. He might be able to tell him, ‘Hey, be ready for a fake with this term.’ But we’re smart enough to know that.”

LaPolice recalled the Bombers trying the same thing, to no avail, with linebacker K.D. Williams back in ’02.

“Sometimes that’s overworked. It’s not like they haven’t watched film of us. They know what we do, and we know what they do.”


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