Bombers keep the faith

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:45 AM ET

WINNIPEG - They will be missing their starting quarterback, starting tailback and starting defensive tackle when they meet the defending Grey Cup champions in a key matchup at Canad Inns Stadium on Friday night.

Replacing injured quarterback Buck Pierce will be Alex Brink — who started the season at No. 3 on the roster — against the visiting Montreal Alouettes. Replacing injured CFL all-star tailback Fred Reid will be Chris Garrett — who was cut earlier this year, then brought back. Replacing injured CFL all-star defensive tackle Doug Brown will be Don Oramasionwu, who has proven to be a solid replacement in the past.

“Injuries or no injuries, we still believe in the guys we have,” Bombers centre Obby Khan said Thursday. “Two weeks ago, no one had us beating Montreal and we did. This week’s another battle and we’re going to go out and play hard, and Montreal’s going to play hard and anything can happen.

“Garrett gives us a lot of energy to the backfield because, A) he has something to prove — he wants to prove that he can play; B) he’s completely fresh … The same thing with Brink. He wants to prove that he can play and be a starting quarterback in this league.”

At stake is top spot in the East. A Winnipeg win would increase their lead over Montreal to four points and clinch the season series over the Als. A loss would mean that the Alouettes would tie the Bombers for first and tie the season series 1-1 with one game left.

“Now, other players have a chance to have success to give us a chance to have success,” said Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice. “That’s life. You’ve got to move on.”

Brink got the nod to start because LaPolice decided to sit Pierce to allow his bruised ribs to mend.

“We just want to make sure we get Buck healthy,” said LaPolice, who expressed faith in Brink. “I think he’s grown and that’s what guys have to do when there’s injuries. They have to step up and make plays, and I was pleased with what he’s done when he’s had opportunities this year.”

Brink, who was told of the decision Wednesday afternoon, was anxious to get his second start as a Bomber.

“I feel ready for the opportunity,” said Brink, who knows the Als will be coming after him Friday night under the lights. “They’re an aggressive group. They’re going to make your athletes beat their athletes and play some man coverage. They’re going to blitz a little bit and try to pressure the quarterback.”

If the Als were rubbing their hands in gleeful anticipation, they weren’t saying it aloud.

“It’s always tough when you lose your starter, no matter who it is, and then it’s up to the backup to go in there with no reps,” said Als QB Anthony Calvillo.

“We don’t care who’s out there, whether it’s the starting quarterback or anybody, it don’t matter,” said Montreal receiver Jamel Richardson. “We’re going to go out there and play smashmouth and go get this victory.”


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