Friday, November 18, 2016
BURRIS COMFORTABLE WITH UNDERDOG ROLE
The Redblacks host the Edmonton Eskimos on Sunday afternoon with a trip to next week's Grey Cup on the line. Edmonton is looking to become the first crossover team to advance to the CFL championship game.
"Nobody ever gives us a chance,'' Burris said this week. "Everybody's talking about what Edmonton did last year and yes they won the Grey Cup, but we've had success against Edmonton this year and we want to do what we can to continue the success that we've had.''
The Redblacks are 2-0 against Edmonton this season, but the Eskimos come in having won six of their last seven games.
Ottawa finished first in the East with a mediocre 8-9-1 record while Edmonton was fourth in the West at 10-8. Despite their inconsistent play, the Redblacks are still just one victory away from a Grey Cup appearance.
"We know we have our hands full,'' Burris said. "This is a challenge we look forward to. Nobody's going to give us any respect, that's just how it's been. All we've done is win two Eastern Division titles and put us in a position to host the Eastern Final and be one step away to go to the Grey Cup.
"It's not people betting against us, it's people who are jealous of what we're doing because their teams aren't doing it so we're excited to get out there and play football and get a victory.''
The Redblacks will be rested after a bye week while the Eskimos are coming off a 24-21 win in Hamilton last weekend. However, Ottawa struggled after bye weeks in the regular season, losing by over three touchdowns on both occasions.
Players and coaches remember the losses well and say this last bye week was not your average week off.
"This is a whole different situation,'' said head coach Rick Campbell. "We've been here working and practising and it's a playoff game to go to the Grey Cup so motivation won't be an issue.''
A number of Ottawa players have been able to recover from minor injuries and now feel fresh going into Sunday's game. Edmonton quarterback Mike Reilly left the Eastern semifinal with an injury, but said he expects to play against the Redblacks.
"Either way whoever it is, we know we're going to get a competitive team,'' said Ottawa lineman Moton Hopkins. "We're going to face a good quarterback and we're going to have to play our best game.''
Last week, Eskimos running back John White was instrumental in Edmonton's win over the Tiger-Cats with 20 carries for 160 yards and two touchdowns. Ottawa held White to just 14 carries for 89 yards and one touchdown over two regular-season games.
The Redblacks know that shutting him down again will be imperative.
"We understand he's a great player, especially defensive line-wise,'' said Hopkins. "We have to be able to hold our gap and we have to be able to contain him and minimize his success out there.''
While much has been made of the Redblacks' poor 2-6-1 home record this season, the Ottawa players know they couldn't ask for a better situation.
"The good thing is we're due for a win at home, a big win at home,'' Hopkins said. "We're going to have the crowd behind us. We're just excited for it. We're in the Eastern Final and no matter what happened at the beginning of the year we're where we want to be.''
Notes: Campbell confirmed offensive lineman SirVincent Rogers is a longshot to play Sunday as he's still dealing with an ankle injury.