Realty One



Saturday, September 12, 2015


WINNIPEG - When Matt Nichols takes the first snap for the Blue Bombers in Saturday's Banjo Bowl against Saskatchewan, it'll mark a season high for the CFL team (4:30 pm Sask Time, TSN, CKRM).

Nichols is the fourth different starting quarterback for Winnipeg (3-7), the most of any team during a campaign that features only three lucky clubs without injuries to their main pivots.

It's a distinction Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea never imagined his team would hold.

"When you build your roster, you look at contingency plans,'' O'Shea said Friday after his team's walk-through. "You have to build and have a plan for that kind of stuff, but you don't sit there at home at night thinking about four quarterbacks. Hey, teams are going through it. It's not something you really dwell on as a coach.''

O'Shea is also handling special teams co-ordinator duties after Pat Tracey was fired this week. The Bombers have lost four in a row and six of their last seven games.

With Brian Brohm under centre last weekend, the Blue Bombers dropped a 37-19 decision to the Roughriders (1-9) as Saskatchewan earned its first win of the season.

That outcome sparked the Bombers to get Nichols in a trade with Edmonton for a conditional seventh-round pick in next year's CFL draft. Original starter Drew Willy (knee) is on the six-game injured list for three more games, while recent starter Robert Marve hurt a knee a couple weeks ago and is done for the season.

After five full practices with the Bombers and Friday's walk-through, Nichols was happy to be at the helm of a team fighting to make the playoffs.

"I've had the most fun playing football this last week than I have in the last few years,'' said Nichols, who joined the Eskimos in October 2010.

The Bombers announced 34,250 tickets had been sold so far for Saturday's game, including extra seats installed for November's Grey Cup game.

Riders quarterback Brett Smith will making his sixth straight start. Kevin Glenn (torn pectoral) was practising this week and is eligible to play next week while Darian Durant is out for the season.

Calgary, Hamilton and Ottawa are now the only clubs using the same quarterback who started the season after B.C.'s Travis Lulay was injured last week and put on the six-game injured list.

"You wouldn't think that you've been through this many quarterbacks,'' Bombers receiver Clarence Denmark said of Winnipeg's quartet. "We believe in Matt. He came out and showed some good things. In his career, he's shown some good things so we trust him.

"He's a good quarterback. It's plug and play.''

Nichols started seven games for the Eskimos this year (5-2), but James Franklin finished two of the wins. One of Nichols's victories was a 30-5 home win over the Riders on Aug. 31, which was Smith's first start.

"I think it helps that we played against him earlier in the season and have an idea of how he plays, how mobile and everything he is,'' Saskatchewan interim head coach Bobby Dyce said.

The Winnipeg native and former Bomber and University of Manitoba assistant coach will have his own cheering section at the game, including 20 to 25 family members and friends.

Same for Riders receiver Nic Demski, a former Bison who scored his first CFL touchdown last week with a 60-yard punt return.

"It just puts confidence under our belt,'' Demski said of the team's first victory. "We've been close a bunch of times this season. We finally did it as a team.''

(Canadian Press)


Anonymous said...

Did anyone happen to notice Kent Austin shoulder check former Ti-Cat Dave Stala on the sidelines tonight? Clear intent, from behind. May not have been noticed by league but if Argos lay complaint, Austin will be looking at a major fine. Love Kent but man, absolutely ridiculous to pull a stunt like that.

Anonymous said...

The Sk. Football God Mr. Kent Austin, league untouchable. Anon #1, trying to poke dried sh*t that can't be stirred.

Anonymous said...

loved what austin did thats why players wanna play for him hes got the fire. you can tell he hates the argos and loves beating them.if the argos complain they are as big of marys as the 1st poster watch, soccer if you dont like it.

Anonymous said...

Argos hamilton game was a league embarrassment. Two key penalties on Toronto was the difference, too bad they were not penalties. Guess the setup for Hamiltonto win it all is right on track, Good teams get breaks.

Anonymous said...

"With Brian Brohm under centre last weekend, the Blue Bombers dropped a 37-19 decision to the Roughriders (1-9) as Saskatchewan earned its first win of the season.

That outcome sparked the Bombers to get Nichols in a trade with Edmonton for a conditional seventh-round pick in next year’s CFL draft.”

So the idiots in Winnipeg didn’t even realize Nichols was dressed for the labour day game? Didn’t the trade for Nichols occur before the labour day game? Wasn’t it Marve getting injured that precipitated the trade to get Nichols?

No wonder they are having a tough time selling out the Grey Cup there. Media and fans don’t care what’s going on with their team and city.

Why should anyone else?

Anonymous said...

Would not that be Hamilton Football God Mr. Kent Austin?

Anonymous said...

No, take a drive to the Saskatchewan Roughriders Mosaic Stadium. Look way up ... and I'll call Rusty. That's The Sk. Football God Mr Kent Austin draped all over the promenade. He's personally responsible for two out of four Roughriders Grey Cup victories in their long storied history.