Blue won't miss a beat

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:50 AM ET

WINNIPEG - It was a trade that raised a few eyebrows, and not only in Winnipeg.

When Blue Bomber GM Joe Mack dealt quarterback Steven Jyles to Toronto in the off-season, it left the Bombers with little experience behind oft-injured starter Buck Pierce.

With Pierce unable to play and Alex Brink starting Friday night’s first-place showdown with Montreal, another piece of evidence will emerge toward an eventual verdict in the deal.

“We’ve got confidence in Brink — 100% confidence,” offensive lineman Brendon LaBatte said. “He’s gone in and played extremely well in the B.C. game and got us a win there. Hopefully we don’t miss a beat and he goes in there and can get us a win, just like Buck would.”

Brink’s relief appearance against the Lions here, Week 4, shouldn’t be discounted, says centre Obby Khan.

Facing the same team that ate him up in his first career start last season, Brink led the Bombers on the winning touchdown drive.

“He played so good in that game, even though it was only one game, you can’t count out the confidence he got from it,” Khan said, suggesting Brink’s demeanour in the huddle has changed, dramatically. “Last year he was more of a rookie and didn’t know how to handle himself around us. But after a year of being real good friends... we have a real connection with him, a real bond that carries through on the field.”

Last week in Toronto, Brink was 10 of 13 for 121 yards and an interception, before he left with a shoulder injury.

“He’s just a real smart kid,” LaBatte said. “He’s able to make his reads and process so much information before the snap of the ball.”

Head coach Paul LaPolice says reading defences is where Brink excels.

“He processes information quicker, he knows where he wants to go with the football and he just sees the field better,” LaPolice said. “We talk about funneling information before the ball is snapped, know where you’re going with the ball, and he does that very well.”

Brink didn’t do it well enough to hang onto his No. 2 job through training camp, though.

“Why was he No. 3? After coming out of training camp we felt Joey Elliott did a steady job and performed very well to be No. 2,” LaPolice said.

Elliott tore up a knee and is lost for the season, while Pierce is missing his first start with bruised ribs.

Coupled with the loss of tailback Fred Reid, there may be even more onus on the CFL’s top-ranked defence, which has carried the 8-4 Bombers this season.

“It’s nothing we can’t handle,” defensive back Jonathan Hefney said. “We’ve got our faith in Brink.”

Defensive end Odell Willis echoed Hefney’s comments.

“We ain’t going to come out and do nothin’ different,” Willis said. “He’s proven in the past he can help us win. Now he’s startin’ the whole game, so it’s even better.”


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