October 23, 2012
Bombers have Wildcat offence purring along
By KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency
Alex Brink has found a way to salvage what has been an up-and-down season.
In a campaign in which he was promoted to starter and then demoted back to a third-stringer, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback managed to stay involved in an offence that is coming out of its proverbial shell as the end of the 2012 CFL regular season draws near.
Already the short-yardage guy, who is brought in to secure first downs and almost always used near the goal-line, Brink finds himself at the controls of the Wildcat-inspired package that was originally designed for fellow pivot Justin Goltz.
The early returns were positive in the Blue Bombers 44-32 victory over the Toronto Argonauts last Friday, as Brink rushed 10 times for 31 yards and two touchdowns and completed his lone pass attempt to defensive end Jason Vega for a four-yard TD strike that capped a 17-play, 89-yard drive on the opening possession.
"It's a different role than I'm used to, but I enjoy it," said Brink, who has 47 carries for 181 yards and seven touchdown runs to go along with 102 completions in 188 attempts, seven passing touchdowns and six interceptions this season. "It was created for Justin, but with Buck back starting, it kind of falls by default to me. But it's something I take a lot of pride in."
Plus, it's another opportunity for Brink to showcase his skill-set and versatility.
"From a quarterback perspective, you get to show off your athleticism a little bit," said Brink. "You get to have some designed runs where guys are blocking for you and you can have some fun with it. The quarterbacks always joke about who is the best athlete among the four of us and I like to stick my foot out there that maybe I am. It gave me the opportunity that I can run a little bit, but it's certainly not the best part of my game.
"It provides a nice switch-up for a guy like me who is dressing as the third quarterback, I can have a role on the field in a big team win like we had in Toronto."
Was Brink nervous that Vega was going to come up with the TD reception?
Not for a second.
"We have a lot of confidence in Jason and I was joking with him, telling him that I think he's my favourite receiver now because all he does is catch touchdowns," said Brink.
Although it has been a late development, there's no doubt the Wildcat-inspired package has given the Blue Bomber offence a much-needed shot in the arm.
"What it does to a defence is that you don't usually account for the quarterback as a runner. As soon as the quarterback becomes a runner as well and runs tailback kind of plays, now it's an extra guy the defence has to account for," said Blue Bombers interim head coach Tim Burke. "That's not normally done, so now they have to make some serious adjustments in order ot stop it."
Starting quarterback Buck Pierce likes what the package has done for the offence.
"It's still in its early stages and you can build off it," said Pierce, who was the one running a variation of the wildcat when he broke into the CFL with the B.C. Lions. "Anytime you can give your quarterback a rest, mix up the pace Ñ especially within a drive Ñ you give the defence a different look and it's good.
"I remember in my younger days out in B.C., I used to have that package as well and there were a lot of the same things, bootlegs, draws and options where you can throw the ball or run the ball."
The Blue Bombers are back in action on Saturday at Ivor Wynne Stadium against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.