Bombers QB ready for first start since 2010
|Bombers QB Joey Elliott works out during practice in Winnipeg on Sun., Aug. 12, 2012. (Jason Halstead/QMI Agency)
WINNIPEG - If Joey Elliott has a grand vision of being at the controls as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers turn their season around, he’s hiding it well.
The third-year quarterback was sticking to the “one play at a time” mantra as he prepares for his first start of the campaign and third in the CFL as the Blue Bombers face the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Thursday night at Cand Inns Stadium.
“I’m just worried about that first play. You have to focus on attention to detail. There’s a lot of things that can happen in a game,” said Elliott, who has compleed 11-of-18 passes for 193 yards with one touchdown and one interception in his lone game action this season. “Coach is telling us we’re 1-1 in our last two games and we have to build confidence around each other. There are going to be people who doubt us, but we have to believe in the people in the locker room and that coches are going to put us in a good situation to be successful.
“If you’re scared of failure, you won’t ever succeed.”
While there has been plenty of doom and gloom surrounding the Blue Bombers 1-5 start, head coach Paul LaPolice (15-27 during his two-plus seasons at the helm) isn’t worrying about his job security.
“I’m preparing to win a football game,” said LaPolice. “We’re one-third through our season, we’ve had some challenges for our first third of the season. There’s still 12 football games to play. Nobody in the CFL has established themselves as elite. We’re certainly not happy (with how) we’re playing and we need to get better and I think we will. I’m concerned about winning a football game.
“Sometimes, I think people gloom and doom very much. Things out of my control are out of my control. We’ve got a lot of football left to be played.”
The 3-3 Ticats enter the game with a two-game lead over the Blue Bombers and can put a little breathing room between them with a win on Thursday.
Obviously, the Blue Bombers are trying to prevent that from happening.
The Blue Bombers made several changes to their 46-man roster: adding safety Ian Logan, defensive back Alex Suber and special-teams ace James Green, while deleting safety Brady Browne (out for the season with atorn Achilles), defesnive tackle JT Gilmore (leg) and running back Nathan Riva (hamstring).
The secondary is expecting a big boost from the return of Logan and Suber, while the other big change of defence will see Henoc Muamba make his first start at middle linebacker, instead of Pierre-Luc Labbe.
One of the other storylines to watch is the return of Casey Creehan, who spent two seasons on LaPolice’s staff before joining the Ticats as their defensive co-ordinator.
The Ticats will be without receiver Andy Fantuz, but still feature a high-powered offence led by veteran quarterback Henry Burris and a host of speedsters that include running back Chevon Walker and receiver Chris Williams.
“They’re an offence that’s built on the big play and they’ll capitalize when they have the opportunity to,” said Blue Bombers defensive end Jason Vega.
The kickoff is set for 7:05 p.m. at Canad Inns Stadium and the Blue Bombers said that more than 26,000 tickets have already been sold.