July 6, 2012
Bombers' new man in the middle
By KIIRK PENTON, QMI Agency
MONTREAL - The Bombers have made a curious move going into just their second game of the CFL season.
They have changed centres after just 60 minutes of action, removing rookie Chris Kowalczuk and replacing him with Justin Sorensen for Friday night’s clash at Molson Stadium against the Montreal Alouettes.
While head coach Paul LaPolice said it was 100% a coach’s decision, Pierce didn’t exactly deny that he had a say in the switch.
“Ultimately it’s the coach’s decision,” Pierce said Thursday at the team’s downtown Montreal hotel. “They want me to be comfortable, and they want me to be able to execute our offence to my full ability, and they want to make sure the centre-quarterback exchange is first and foremost.”
He then gave sort of a half smile, as if to say, “You bet I had a say.”
Kowalczuk can’t be happy after getting just one opportunity against one of the league’s top defences in the Lions. Winnipeg’s offensive line was a train wreck in last week’s loss to B.C. thanks to both injuries and inexperience, but it’s No. 67 who is wearing the horns.
Then again, the way the Bomber offence flailed away on the West Coast last week, it’s not surprising to see the Winnipeg coaching staff making moves that could be interpreted as a knee-jerk reaction. LaPolice chalked up the switch to finding out what he has.
“Part of change is you gotta figure out what’s best,” he said. “Certainly (Sorensen and Kowalczuk) were very close right through training camp, and we want to get a feel for how Justin would handle the situation.
“He’s got a little bit more experience than Chris, so we wanted to give him the opportunity after evaluating the film and evaluating the whole week’s practice.”
If the Bombers beat the Alouettes, then it’s all moot and the move will be viewed as a brilliant stroke of coaching genius. But what if Sorensen, who has all of four career starts on his resume and none at centre, doesn’t work out? Then what? Does anyone still have Obby Khan’s phone number? (For the record, LaPolice said they haven’t reached out to Khan).
Sorensen, a beast of a man at 6-foot-7 and 312 pounds, was playing it cool on the eve of his first start in nearly two years.
“It’s going to be a good challenge, for sure,” the 26-year-old said. “I’m just ready to go. I had a good week of practice, so we’re going to do what we do: Go out and block people.
“I’m always ready to go, right? Whenever a chance or opportunity arises, you rise to the challenge and you take it.”
The Alouettes will be frothing at the mouth on Friday night after getting humiliated 38-10 in their season-opener last week in Calgary. The Bombers should feel the same after getting thumped 33-16 in B.C.
And Sorensen will be in the middle of it all. It’ll be interesting to see how it turns out.