LaBatte centre of attention

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:47 AM ET

WINNIPEG - Switching snappers so late in a season was a rather daring move for the Blue Bombers.

The Bombers moved Brendon LaBatte to centre to replace Obby Khan, with Chris Greaves coming off the bench to start at left guard in LaBatte’s spot for Saturday’s game against the Montreal Alouettes.

“It was a little nerve-wracking,” LaBatte readily admitted Monday. “For the first time out, I wasn’t exactly sure how things were going to go, so I just went out there and tried to do the best I can and gave (quarterback) Buck (Pierce) the ball so he can keep his eyes downfield.

“Unfortunately, there were a couple of snaps I’d like to have back. But all-in-all, for the first time out and never having played the position in a regular-season game, I thought it went not too bad.”

You may recall the first time former Bomber Moe Elewonibi tried his hand at shotgun snaps a number of years ago. It was an adventure.

“It puts a lot of pressure on you,” said LaBatte, a CFL East all-star guard the past two years. “Everyone kind of takes the snap getting into the quarterback’s hands for granted but being the guy who does it, it’s a little bit more stressful than that. But it’s just a matter of getting comfortable and keep on working at it. So, I feel like I can play the position, it’s just going to take some time.”

Pierce did not seem to have any problems adjusting to the change.

“I think he got a lot more comfortable as the game went on and he did a good job,” Pierce said. “He’s a great player in this league and he can play a lot of positions up front. You have a player like him who’s asked to do something at this time of the year and he willingly steps up and accepts that role. That shows a lot of character ... It’s just getting a comfort level with him and him getting to understand the position a little better.”

LaBatte, 25, also conceded that it was awkward to replace Khan.

“It’s never fun when the guy you played beside for four years and you’ve got to go over and bump him out of his position,” said the 6-foot-4, 304-pound Regina product. “And it’s not natural for me to be there, either — I’ve never played there before in my life.

“But it’s one of those things where we don’t control where we get put, we just control what we do once we get put there. So, you just try to do the best you can and try to get Buck the ball and make your blocks afterwards.”

LaBatte also called the signals for the blocking schemes.

“I had a pretty good feel for that just being the left guard,” he said. “So, it wasn’t so much of a transition, it was more snapping the ball and moving as you snap the ball. That’s just something I’ve got to work on but, as I get more comfortable, I’ve got the confidence I can do that.”


Videos

Photos