Bombers Poblah itching to strut stuffReceiver unhappy with injury-plagued rookie season
By Ken Wiebe, QMI AGENCY
WINNIPEG - Kito Poblah sounds like a guy with something to prove.
Limited to just three games last season because of knee and shoulder injuries, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers receiver is planning to spend a lot more time on the football field in 2012.
“I just want to come out and play,” said Poblah. “I know what I can do. You guys (in the media) don’t know what I can do. I just want to show you guys. You can hear as much as you want, but I’m going to show you. That’s it.”
Poblah is a positive person by nature, but had trouble finding a silver lining when asked what he took from his rookie season.
“I really didn’t enjoy it, to tell you the truth,” said Poblah, the first overall pick in the 2011 CFL supplemental draft. “(The injuries) were very unfortunate, but it was an experience I feel like I was put through for a reason. You really don’t know how much you appreciate something until it’s taken away. I’m coming back with a new mindset and really feeling excited and ready to get going for this year. This is a game I love, this is my life and it’s everything I want to do.”
Poblah won a starting job out of training camp as a rookie last season, but suffered a knee injury in the season opener against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
After returning from the injury, Poblah had a huge day against the Saskatchewan Roughriders in his first Labour Day Classic, hauling in nine passes for 89 yards.
The following week he was limited to 10 yards on one catch and sustained a shoulder injury that landed him on the nine-game injured list.
And while he was able to return for the 99th Grey Cup in a backup role, losing to the B.C. Lions in the championship game left a bitter taste in Poblah’s mouth.
During the three days of mini-camp, Poblah is quickly showing that he’s ready to take on a much larger role in the Blue Bombers’ offence this season.
“From Day 1 last year when I came here, I wanted to be that guy,” said Poblah, who was chosen first in the 2011 CFL supplemental draft. “It didn’t matter if I was a rookie or a 10-year veteran, I always wanted to be that guy. With my competitive nature, I want to be a guy who is able to help change the game.”
“I expect a lot from him and everybody in the organization does,” added Blue Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce. “He showed flashes of what he can do last year. Now he’s got to go out and do it on a weekly basis. Physically, he’s as good as anybody. Kito has prepared this off-season, rehabbed well from his injuries and he’s ready to move forward.”
The raw talent was evident upon his arrival at training camp last year and what’s clear is that Poblah doesn’t lack the motivation to push himself to become a better player.
“His explosion is back, he’s catching the ball well and he’s trying to be a leader out here,” said Blue Bombers receivers coach Markus Howell. “You can’t teach size. Some guys are blessed with it. With his size, speed and strength, he already has an advantage. Now we have to perfect his craft, the route-running and catching the ball. That’s what makes guys special.
“The sky is the limit for a guy like him. He has the want-to and that’s half the battle. All he has to do is stay healthy and he can be an all-star in this league.”