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Pencer gets first pro start as Bombers face Eskimos

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Change in plans on the Bombers offensive line: with Paul Swiston and Steve Morley both out with injuries, Tyson Pencer will get his start at right guard when the blue take on the Edmonton Eskimos on Saturday.

It will be the first pro start for Pencer, a B.C. boy and second-year Bomber, who spent 2012 on the injured list. On Tuesday, Bombers coach Tim Burke said that newly acquired lineman Marc Parenteau would get the start, but announced coaches changed their mind on Wednesday.

"He’s been here and he’s been in the system now, so we feel like we wanted to see if he could get 'er done for us," Burke said, adding that sometimes coaches tend to lean to being safe in their personnel decisions. "Sometimes the best way to become a good player is just by playing… (Pencer) is very athletic. He’s also a tough guy. He’s not going to back down from anybody… he just doesn’t have the experience you like."

Offensive line coach Pat Del Monaco was definitely putting pressure on Pencer at Wednesday’s practice, as he could be heard peppering the 6’7" lineman with some, ahem, pointed orders. Burke said that was largely a matter of a little trial by fire in advance of the start. "You want to make practice harder than the game," he said.

It’s not yet known if Canadian receiver Akeem Foster will see action on Saturday, as that depends how Jade Etienne is recovering from a concussion. Etienne practiced Wednesday and didn’t experience any symptoms, Burke said, but staff are going to make their final decision after checking on his health on Thursday.

Foster, of course, is just one of the latest moves in acting general manager Kyle Walters’ reworking of the Bombers roster, after he was acquired from the B.C. Lions in exchange for Buck Pierce on Sunday. The changes have come quick under Walters’ reign – and that’s sitting just fine with the coach.

"(Walters) has done everything he can humanly, possibly do," Burke said. "He’s really worked hard to try and bring guys in. Pretty much everybody that we’ve shown an interest in as coaching staff, he’s gone out of his way to pursue it. We pursued some other things that didn’t come to fruition, but he’s trying hard."

Bombers defenders Kenny Mainor and Henoc Muamba did not practise on Wednesday with some bumps and bruises, but are expected back Thursday.

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